By MEAD GRUVER and DAN ELLIOTT, ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- The deadly crash of a military cargo plane fighting a South Dakota wildfire forced officials to ground seven other Air Force air tankers, removing critical firefighting aircraft from the skies during one of the busiest and most destructive wildfire seasons ever to hit the West.

The C-130 from an Air National Guard wing based in Charlotte, N.C., was carrying a crew of six and fighting a 6.5-square-mile blaze in the Black Hills of South Dakota when it crashed Sunday, killing at least one crew member and injuring others.

President Barack Obama offered thoughts and prayers to the crew and their families. "The men and women battling these terrible fires across the West put their lives on the line every day for their fellow Americans," he said in a statement.

The crash cut the number of large air tankers fighting this summer's outbreak of wildfires by one-third.

The military put the remaining seven C-130s on an "operational hold," keeping them on the ground indefinitely. That left 14 federally contracted heavy tankers in use until investigators gain a better understanding of what caused the crash.

"You've basically lopped off eight air tankers immediately from your inventory, and that's going to make it tougher to fight wildfires," said Mike Archer, who distributes a daily newsletter of wildfire news.

"And who knows how long the planes will be down?" he said, adding that investigators will take time to make their conclusions.

Obama signed a bill last month hastening the addition of seven large tanker planes to the nation's rundown aerial firefighting fleet, at a cost of $24 million, but the first planes won't be available until mid-August.

C-130 air tankers have crashed on firefighting duty before. In 2002, a privately owned civilian version of an older-model C-130 crashed in California, killing three crew members. The plane broke up in flight and an investigation blamed fatigue cracks in the wings.

The crash, in part, prompted a review of the airworthiness of large U.S. air tankers and led ultimately to a greatly reduced fleet of large civilian tanker planes. The 44 planes in the fleet a decade ago has dwindled to nine being flown on U.S. Forest Service exclusive use contracts right now.

Another aerial firefighting plane, the Lockheed P2V, has had some problems in recent months. One crashed in Utah, killing the two pilots, and another one crash-landed in Nevada.

A military spokesman said he did not know when the grounded planes would resume firefighting flights. They were used to fight fires in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota.

The C-130s can be loaded with a device called the Modular Airborne Firefighting System, or MAFFS. The system can drop 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant within seconds through a modified side door toward the rear of the plane.

The military planes had been filling up with fire retardant and flying out of Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

The U.S. Forest Service, which owns the MAFFS devices and coordinates the program with the military, expressed support for the decision to stand down the MAFFS.

However, as a result, the Forest Service now will have to prioritize fires and the resources allocated to fight them, said Jennifer Jones, a Forest Service spokeswoman at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

Fires threatening human life will be a top priority, followed by those threatening communities and community infrastructure, other types of property, and finally natural and cultural resources, she said.

"The bottom line is, we will continue to do our best to fulfill our responsibility to protect the public, communities and cultural and natural resources during wildfires with the assets that we have available," she said.

Firefighters in the field also will adjust their strategy and tactics based on the availability of air tankers.

The plane that crashed was fighting a fire about 80 miles southwest of Rapid City, S.D. The terrain of the crash site is "very, very rugged, straight up and straight down cliffs," said Frank Maynard, the Fall River County emergency management director.

Military officials declined to say whether anyone was killed, but they confirmed there were some crew members who were being treated for serious injuries at a hospital in Rapid City.

The family of Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal of Mooresville, N.C., said they were told early Monday that he had died in the crash They said he was a 42-year-old married father of two and a veteran of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There were lives lost," Lt. Col. Robert Carver of the North Carolina National Guard said at a news conference. "We are very grateful for the survivors and our thoughts and prayers and hearts go out to the families that have lost loved ones."

Among the major fires burning in the West Monday:

- Colorado: The 28-square-mile Waldo Canyon Fire was 70 percent contained. The fire northwest of Colorado Springs killed two people and destroyed nearly 350 homes.

- Utah: Two new wildfires broke out on National Forest lands, one caused by target shooting, authorities said. In southern Utah, evacuations were ordered as the 500-acre Shingle fire threatened about 100 cabins.

- Montana: The 290-square mile Ash Creek fire jumped a state highway early Monday, triggering evacuations.

- Wyoming: Three large forest fires continued to spread as crews faced erratic winds and explosive fuel conditions.

---

Dan Elliott reported from Denver. Associated Press writers Paul Foy in Salt Lake City; Keith Ridler in Boise, Idaho; Michael Biesecker in Raleigh, N.C.; and Blake Nicholson in Bismarck, N.D., contributed to this report.

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  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: Homes destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire are seen from the air in a neighborhood on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: A burned truck is viewed in a neighborhood affected by the Waldo Canyon fire on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: Homes and cars destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire are seen from the air in a neighborhood on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: Homes destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire are seen from the air in a neighborhood on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: Homes destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire are seen from the air in a neighborhood on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: A man stands near homes destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire are seen from the air in a neighborhood on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: Destroyed homes sit beside a home left untouched by fire in a neighborhood affected by the Waldo Canyon fire on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: Destroyed homes sit beside home left untouched by fire in a neighborhood affected by the Waldo Canyon fire on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: Destroyed homes sit beside home left untouched by fire in a neighborhood affected by the Waldo Canyon fire on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: Destroyed homes sit beside home left untouched by fire in a neighborhood affected by the Waldo Canyon fire on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: A destroyed home is viewed in a neighborhood affected by the Waldo Canyon fire on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: A burned truck is viewed in a neighborhood affected by the Waldo Canyon fire on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • WALDO CANYON FIRE

    President Barack Obama talks with firefighters as he tours the Mountain Shadow neighborhood devastated by wildfires, Friday, June 29, 2012, in, Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Mark Reis)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: Cars pass an area affected by the Waldo Canyon fire on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • WALDO CANYON FIRE

    President Barack Obama and Congressman Doug Lamborn survey damage from The Waldo Canyon Fire along Majestic Drive, Friday, June 29, 2012, in, Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Mark Reis)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: Smoke billows at sunrise from part of the Waldo Canyon fire on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Barack Obama

    Secret Service watch from a tower as President Barack Obama aboard Air Force One leaves the airport in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, June 29, 2012, after surveying damage from the Waldo Canyon wildfire and thanking first responders. The fire destroyed nearly 350 homes and killed one person. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Major Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of Over 30,000 Near Colorado Springs

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 30: Smoke billows at sunrise from part of the Waldo Canyon fire on June 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The massive fire, which has eased with the help of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee. The fire was estimated at 17,073 acres and was 25 precent contained with some evacuees being let back into their neighborhoods. A second body has been located in a burned home while others are still reported missing. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, June 29, 2012, after surveying damage from the Waldo Canyon wildfire and thanking first responders. The fire destroyed nearly 350 homes and killed one person. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Members of Bighorn 209, a hand crew from the Crow Agency in Montana check for hot spots on the Waldo Canyon Fire west of Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, June 29, 2012. After declaring a "major disaster" in the state early Friday and promising federal aid, President Barack Obama got a firsthand view of the wildfires and their toll on residential communities. More than 30,000 people have been evacuated in what is now the most destructive wildfire in state history. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Members of Bighorn 209, a hand crew from the Crow Agency in Montana check for hot spots on the Waldo Canyon Fire west of Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, June 29, 2012. After declaring a "major disaster" in the state early Friday and promising federal aid, President Barack Obama got a firsthand view of the wildfires and their toll on residential communities. More than 30,000 people have been evacuated in what is now the most destructive wildfire in state history. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Members of Bighorn 209, a hand crew from the Crow Agency in Montana check for hot spots from the Waldo Canyon Fire west of Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, June 29, 2012. After declaring a "major disaster" in the state early Friday and promising federal aid, President Barack Obama got a firsthand view of the wildfires and their toll on residential communities. More than 30,000 people have been evacuated in what is now the most destructive wildfire in state history. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Members of Bighorn 209, a hand crew from the Crow Agency in Montana check for hot spots on the Waldo Canyon Fire west of Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, June 29, 2012. After declaring a "major disaster" in the state early Friday and promising federal aid, President Barack Obama got a firsthand view of the wildfires and their toll on residential communities. More than 30,000 people have been evacuated in what is now the most destructive wildfire in state history. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Members of Bighorn 209, a hand crew from the Crow Agency in Montana check for hot spots on the Waldo Canyon Fire west of Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, June 29, 2012. After declaring a "major disaster" in the state early Friday and promising federal aid, President Barack Obama got a firsthand view of the wildfires and their toll on residential communities. More than 30,000 people have been evacuated in what is now the most destructive wildfire in state history. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • This infrared image provided by DigitalGlobe shows an aerial view of the Waldo Canyon Fire, June 28, 2012 in Colorado. The bright red areas denote healthy vegetation. This raging Colorado wildfire destroyed an estimated 346 homes this week, making it the most destructive fire in the state's history, officials said Friday June 29, 2012. (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe)

  • Firefighters from Colorado Springs Fire Dept. gather after coming off the fire on the the Waldo Canyon wildfire west of Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, June 29, 2012. One person has been found dead, another is missing and nearly 350 homes have been destroyed by a raging U.S. wildfire that has forced tens of thousands to flee this week. President Barack Obama on Friday will tour the scene of the most destructive fire in Colorado history. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • WALDO CANYON FIRE

    President Barack Obama talks with firefighters as he tours the Mountain Shadow neighborhood devastated by wildfires, Friday, June 29, 2012, in, Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Mark Reis)

  • Several firefighters from Colorado Springs Fire Dept. get massages after coming off the fire line on the the Waldo Canyon wildfire west of Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, June 29, 2012. One person has been found dead, another is missing and nearly 350 homes have been destroyed by a raging U.S. wildfire that has forced tens of thousands to flee this week. President Barack Obama on Friday will tour the scene of the most destructive fire in Colorado history. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • A firefighters from Aurora Fire Dept. refuels after coming off the fire on the the Waldo Canyon wildfire west of Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, June 29, 2012. One person has been found dead, another is missing and nearly 350 homes have been destroyed by a raging U.S. wildfire that has forced tens of thousands to flee this week. President Barack Obama on Friday will tour the scene of the most destructive fire in Colorado history. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • forsale

    In this aerial photo, the charred lots of homes burned to the ground by the Waldo Canyon fire line the streets of the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • The sun sets on the front range where the Waldo Canyon Fire continues to burn Wednesday, June 27, 2012, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The wildfire doubled in size overnight to about 24 square miles (62 square kilometers), and has so far forced mandatory evacuations for more than 32,000 residents. (AP Photo/Bryan Oller)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • Some homes are left scorched by The Waldo Canyon Fire, while others survived, in the Mountain Shadows area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Wednesday, June 27, 2012. The wildfire doubled in size overnight to about 24 square miles (62 square kilometers), and has so far forced mandatory evacuations for more than 32,000 residents. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

  • This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

  • A helicopter drops water as the Waldo Canyon Fire burns Wednesday, June 27, 2012, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The wildfire doubled in size overnight to about 24 square miles (62 square kilometers), and has so far forced mandatory evacuations for more than 32,000 residents. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

  • Small fires smolder in the Mountain Shadows area as the Waldo Canyon Fire burns on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The wildfire doubled in size overnight to about 24 square miles (62 square kilometers), and has so far forced mandatory evacuations for more than 32,000 residents. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

  • A helicopter flies past the charred mountainside above Queens Canyon as the Waldo Canyon Fire burns Wednesday, June 27, 2012, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The wildfire doubled in size overnight to about 24 square miles (62 square kilometers), and has so far forced mandatory evacuations for more than 32,000 residents. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Jerilee Bennett)

AP NATIONAL WILDFIRE TRACKER: