By DAN ELLOTT, Associated Press

BELLVUE, Colo. -- Authorities grounded firefighting aircraft battling an out-of-control blaze scorching central Colorado on Wednesday, reacting with caution to witness reports of meteor sightings.

The temporary move came amid several reported sky sightings near the fire burning 1,100 acres, or nearly 2 square miles, west of Colorado Springs.

Chaffee County Sheriff W. Peter Palmer said his office received multiple reports, including one person who thought a meteorite might have landed in a wooded area north of Buena Vista. Palmer said officials could not confirm that report.

Meanwhile, the crew of a heavy air tanker spotted something while making a slurry run on the blaze, said Steve Segin, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

"They weren't sure what it was," Segin said, confirming the report of a possible meteor shower.

"They landed as they normally do to reload, and for safety reasons they grounded themselves until they could figure out what it was they saw," he said.

The Colorado sightings corresponded with reports of a possible meteor filed by the crews of two commercial aircraft over Liberal, Kan., said meteorologist Scott Entrekin of the National Weather Service in Boulder.

Other sky sightings were reported in Raton, N.M., Entrekin said.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration, said he had no such reports. He also said there were no reported disruptions to commercial airline traffic.

Fire officials ordered four single-engine aircraft to stay on the ground as a precaution. Two heavy air tankers were also affected. The planes soon resumed their attack on the fire, Entrekin said.

The groundings came as firefighters were taking advantage of a break in the heat to ramp up their attack against wildfire burning on more than 100 square miles in the northern part of the state.

"Mother Nature has allowed us this window, and we have responded very aggressively," said Brett Haberstick, a spokesman for fire managers.

After three straight days of gusty winds and temperatures in the 90s, temperatures Wednesday were about 20 degrees cooler.

"We've been patient through those red flag conditions. Today we're going to be aggressive," said Bill Hahnenberg, who is leading the fight against the 65,738-acre fire west of Fort Collins.

Conditions were also better in central Colorado near Lake George, where the blaze is more than 20 percent contained, despite the meteor warning.

A fire that broke out Tuesday in northwestern Colorado spread to about 3 square miles, or 2,000 acres, forcing some evacuations in a subdivision, but residents were able to return that night. Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz said the fire is believed to have started from a cigarette thrown from a vehicle.

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. Hahnenberg said it could be weeks or even months before it's finally controlled.

In Arizona, dense smoke from a wildfire near Payson prompted a health watch in the Phoenix area. Residents were asked to avoid using gas-powered lawn mowers and to limit driving or carpool.

Meanwhile, a 385-acre fire near Sequoia National Park in California was 70 percent contained, Kern County fire officials said Wednesday.

Two hundred firefighters are battling the blaze on the northwest side of Lake Isabella and 200 more are on their way, said Forest Service spokeswoman Cindy Thill.

About 160 structures, including homes and cabins near the park, were evacuated, but area residents were allowed back in their homes at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

No structures have burned and no injuries have been reported, Thill said.

Residents in San Diego County, meanwhile, have been allowed to home near a 995-acre fire. Full containment was expected Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

Elsewhere:

_ In Wyoming, nearly 300 firefighters are battling a wildfire burning in remote and mountainous area of the Medicine Bow National Forest that has burned about 4 square miles since Sunday. An 800-acre wildfire that began Tuesday in Wyoming and crossed over into Colorado is 90 percent contained.

_ In New Mexico, a fire that has destroyed 242 homes and businesses in southern New Mexico was 60 percent contained. A fire in the Gila Wilderness, the largest in state history, is at 463 square miles and is 80 percent contained.

_ In Arizona, the wildfire causing haze in Phoenix made a rapid run to the east, spreading under twin transmission lines that send power to the state's major metropolitan areas. Firefighters were reinforcing containment lines to the north Wednesday to keep the blaze from reaching two small communities about three miles away. It's 8,100 acres, up from 3,700 on Tuesday.

_ In Nevada, an 18-square-mile wildfire north of Ely was 37 percent contained.

_ In Hawaii, the largest wildfire of the season has scorched at least 5,200 acres on the Big Island. Two separate fires have been burning there since Monday. One came dangerously close to a hospital and forced the closure of its emergency room. A 6-acre fire in Maui that damaged three homes was contained late Tuesday.

LOOK: Dramatic photos, video of the High Park Fire

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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)