DENVER -- Additional crews were arriving Saturday at a wildfire in northern Colorado that has scorched about 85 square miles and destroyed at least 181 homes, the most in state history.

The High Park Fire burning 15 miles west of Fort Collins surpasses the Fourmile Canyon wildfire, which destroyed 169 homes west of Boulder in September 2010.

Fire information officer Brett Haberstick said Saturday that more than 1,500 personnel are working on the Fort Collins-area fire. The lightning-caused blaze, which is believed to have killed a 62-year-old woman whose body was found in her cabin, was 20 percent contained. The fire's incident commander said full containment could be two to four weeks away.

Haberstick said hot and dry conditions were expected to continue, but crews have made progress in containing a 200-acre spot fire that erupted Thursday afternoon north of the Cache La Poudre River, a critical line of defense against northward growth.

"We're hopeful that we will be able to contain it today, but that will be determined by Mother Nature," Haberstick said.

Firefighters have extinguished other incursions north of the river, but the most recent one appeared to be more serious.

National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Fredin said some rain was expected in the fire zone Saturday evening, but it will not be enough to put the fire out.

"We need a rain that will really last all day," he said. "But it's better than dry wind at this point."

The fire was reported June 9 and has since raced through large swaths of private and U.S. Forest Service land.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who oversees the Forest Service, met with fire managers in Fort Collins on Saturday and said "fighting this fire is going to require us to be aggressive, persistent and also patient.

"We're going to continue to work to make our forests more resilient. We're going to continue to ensure that adequate resources are provided for fighting fires and we are going to continue to make sure that we encourage appropriate stewardship of our forests," he said.

Vilsack praised Congress for allowing the government to contract additional aircraft – particularly heavy tankers – to fight wildfires across the West. But he called on lawmakers for budget certainty to help plan for future fires.

Vilsack is scheduled to hold a news conference with U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in Albuquerque on Sunday.

Meanwhile in New Mexico, questions were being raised about whether bureaucratic red tape prevented firefighters from saving more homes affected by the Little Bear Fire after federal officials released transcripts of the firefighters' response.

But officials released transcripts of the response on the Lincoln National Forest website that suggested firefighters were attacking the blaze as soon as it was a quarter of an acre.

The fire has destroyed 224 homes and burned 59 square miles.

In Arizona, the Northern Arizona Incident Management Team took command of the 1,500 acre blaze in the Tonto National Forest. Officials said the fire was 15 percent contained and firefighters continued to battle unseasonably dry fuels, high temperatures and low humidity.

___

Associated Press writer Russell Contreras in Albuquerque contributed to this report.

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  • A birdfeeder hangs in front of a home d

    A birdfeeder hangs in front of a home destroyed by the High Park Fire, in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins June 30, 2012. The High Park Fire burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Maggie Baker looks over item retrieved f

    Maggie Baker looks over item retrieved from her brother-in-law's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Maggie Baker (R) and her sister-in-law N

    Maggie Baker (R) and her sister-in-law Nellie Bowman walk through the remains of her brother-in-law's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Maggie Baker (R) and her sister-in-law N

    Maggie Baker (R) and her sister-in-law Nellie Bowman walk through the remains of her brother-in-law's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Maggie Baker looks at items retrieved fr

    Maggie Baker looks at items retrieved from the remains of her brother-in-law's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Maggie Baker visits the remains of her b

    Maggie Baker visits the remains of her brother-in-law's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Frank Baker visits the remains of his br

    Frank Baker visits the remains of his brother's home which was burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes. The High Park Fire, which started June 9 from a lightning spark, is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A charred animal trailer sits amidst the

    A charred animal trailer sits amidst the destruction caused by the High Park Fire, in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins June 30, 2012. The High Park Fire burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A fireplace is all that remains of a hom

    A fireplace is all that remains of a home burnt to the ground in the High Park Fire, in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins June 30, 2012. The High Park Fire burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A scorched pathway leading to a home des

    A scorched pathway leading to a home destroyed by the High Park Fire, is seen June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The High Park Fire burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • An item recovered from a home destroyed

    An item recovered from a home destroyed in the High Park Fire, June 30, 2012 in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins. The inferno burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A home surrounded by burnt land stands u

    A home surrounded by burnt land stands undamaged after the High Park Fire, in Bellvue, Colorado west of Fort Collins June 30, 2012. The High Park Fire burned more than 87,000 acres and left one person dead and destroyed 259 homes making it the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado state history. The High Park Fire is 97 percent contained while the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres, left at least two people dead and destroyed 346 homes is 45 percent contained. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Dragons Eye

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/kcr56rck"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/kcr56rck">kcr56rck</a>:<br />Eye Of The Dragon (High Park Fire from Fort Collins Colorado)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire burns behind homes north of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire burns behind homes north of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    A slurry bomber drops retardant on the High Park wildfire after it crossed to the north side of Poudre Canyon and threatened homes in the Glacier View area near Livermore , Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    The sun sets behind a plume of smoke from the High Park wildfire near Livermore , Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Image via <a href="http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151219758154638&set=p.10151219758154638&type=1&theater" target="_hplink">Facebook</a>.

  • Image via <a href="http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3273738644328&set=p.3273738644328&type=1&theater" target="_hplink">Facebook</a>.

  • High Park Wildfire

    A firefighting helicopter races to dump a load of water on the fire north of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Shirley Paskett, left, and her partner Pam Creech react as they listen to a reverse 911 call telling them to evacuate their home after the High Park wildfire crossed to the north side of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Shirley Paskett loads her stuffed bob cat into her vehicle after she and her partner were evacuated from their home after the High Park wildfire crossed to the north side of Poudre Canyon the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    A firefighting aircraft is dwarfed by a plume of smoke north of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire burns behind homes north of Poudre Canyon in the Glacier View area near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 22, 2012. The fire is burning on more than 68,000 acres west of Fort Collins and has destroyed at least 189 homes (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • In this June 19, 2012 photo provided by the Colorado National Guard, an aircraft drops a load of fire retardant slurry above the High Park wildfire about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. The ammonium phosphate dropped from airplanes to slow the spread of raging wildfires can turn a pristine mountain stream into a death zone for trout and some say the retardant has never been proven effective. (AP Photo/Colorado National Guard, John Rohrer)

  • In a photo made on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, and made available on Wednesday by the Colorado National Guard, firefighters from the Monument, Colo., fire department march to dinner at sunset in a base camp near the High Park wildfire about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo.(AP Photo/Colorado National Guard, John Rohrer)

  • In this June 19, 2012 photo provided by the Colorado National Guard, an aircraft drops a load of fire retardant slurry above the High Park wildfire about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. The ammonium phosphate dropped from airplanes to slow the spread of raging wildfires can turn a pristine mountain stream into a death zone for trout and some say the retardant has never been proven effective. (AP Photo/Colorado National Guard, John Rohrer)

  • Burned trees stand on the south side of Poudre Canyon where the High Park wildfire devastated the west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The largest Colorado blaze west of Fort Collins was 55 percent contained and has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    The stairs that led to a home that was destroyed by the High Park Wild fire are photographed during a tour by fire officials in Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The largest Colorado blaze west of Fort Collins was 55 percent contained and has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • The stairs that led to a home that was destroyed by the High Park Wild fire are photographed during a tour by fire officials in Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The largest Colorado blaze west of Fort Collins was 55 percent contained and has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    A burnt cactus stands near a home that was destroyed by the High Park Wildfire are pictured during a tour by fire officials in Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Areas with other homes destroyed were not included in the tour. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Burned trees stand on the south side of Poudre Canyon where the High Park wildfire devastated the west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The largest Colorado blaze west of Fort Collins was 55 percent contained and has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • In this photo made on Monday, June 18, 2012, and made available Wednesday by the Colorado National Guard, a helicopter drops a load of water above the High Park wildfire, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo.. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Colorado National Guard, Jess Geffre)

  • In this photo made on Monday, June 18, 2012, and made available Wednesday by the Colorado National Guard, a helicopter drops a load of water above the High Park wildfire, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Colorado National Guard , Jess Geffre)

  • In this photo taken on Monday, June 18, 2012, and made available Wednesday by the Colorado National Guard, a helicopter drops a load of water above the High Park wildfire, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. (AP Photo/Colorado National Guard , Jess Geffre)

  • High Park Wildfire, Slurry Bomber

    A slurry bomber files through smoke as it circles to make a drop on the High Park wildfire near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. Incident commander Bill Hahnenberg said it could be weeks or even months before it's finally controlled. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

  • High Park Wildfire

    A spotter plane, top, catches up to a slurry bomber to lead it on a drop on the High Park wildfire near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. Incident commander Bill Hahnenberg said it could be weeks or even months before it's finally controlled. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Smoke rises beyond a pasture as the High Park wildfire continues to burn out of control near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. Incident commander Bill Hahnenberg said it could be weeks or even months before it's finally controlled. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire burns in the forest on the High Park wildfire near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The wildfire has burned over 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    A helicopter lifts off after taking on water to drop on the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Smoke billows from the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    A helicopter lifts off after taking on water to drop on the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Smoke billows from the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Smoke billows from the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    The sun sets amidst smoke from the High Park Fire near Bellvue, Colo., on Monday, June 18, 2012. The wildfire has now burned about 90 square miles and destroyed more than 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire crowns in the trees on the High Park wildfire near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The wildfire has burned over 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • High Park Wildfire

    Fire burns in the forest on the High Park wildfire near Livermore, Colo., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The wildfire has burned over 180 homes. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)