OLYMPIA, Wash., Aug 14 (Reuters) - Firefighters battled wildfires across the U.S. West on Tuesday, including a massive out-of-control blaze that has destroyed at least 60 homes and burned more than 28,000 acres between two national forests in Washington state.

Another 400 homes were evacuated in the rolling hills between the northwest Washington towns of Cle Elum and Ellensburg, at the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains, prompting Governor Christine Gregoire to declare a state of emergency in two counties.

The massive Taylor Bridge Fire was among more than a dozen wildfires burning across the West, which is wilting under a heat wave that has sent temperatures into the triple digits. Together, the fires have burned some 500,000 acres (200,000 hectares) across Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California.

Across the nation, wildfires have consumed roughly 6 million acres (2.4 million hectares) this year, above the 10-year average of 4.9 million acres, according to figures from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

Authorities said the Washington state fire was started on Monday afternoon by workers at a construction site east of Cle Elum, about 75 miles (120 km) southeast of Seattle.

"We don't know what the actual cause was. We have no indication it was intentional," said Nancy Jones, a spokeswoman for a state emergency response team.

With strong winds and no rain in the area for three weeks, more damage is likely, said Bryan Flint, spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources.

Winds are pushing the fire east toward an area of mostly farmland, although more homes are in its path, Jones said. The fire is burning just 4 miles northwest of Ellensburg and 10 miles south of the Wenatchee National Forest. South of the fire is the Snoqualmie National Forest.

"All Washingtonians stand with those who have lost their homes and property in the Taylor Bridge Fire," Gregoire said in a written statement. "The destruction overnight is a stark reminder of how quickly and unexpectedly wildfire can move."


FIRES BURN IN CALIFORNIA

In northern California, more than 1,100 firefighters spent a third day attacking a pair of wildfires that have destroyed two homes in Lake County's Spring Valley area and charred some 7,000 acres.

Firefighters had contained only 30 percent of the two blazes burning dry brush in remote Lake and Colusa counties, said Daniel Berlant, a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman. They did not expect full containment for a week.

But firefighters made enough progress attacking one of the fires that authorities lifted an evacuation order for 480 homes in the Spring Valley area on Monday night, he said.

Berlant said the flames had moved east into Colusa County and continued to threaten the area around Wilbur Hot Springs, a 147-year-old resort that offers clothing-optional bathing in mineral water.

Owner Richard Miller said he and 15 employees had to flee the property, which was closed on Sunday for 12 days of maintenance.

"It is in jeopardy," Miller said. "There's fire surrounding it."

But he was confident the California Department of Forestry would protect the retreat, which includes a stucco hotel built in 1910 and nine homes.

"Wilbur is a charmed and magical place and it has all the luck," Miller said.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries while working the blaze in triple-digit temperatures.

Suzann Thompson, who works the front desk at Clear Lake Cottages and Marina, said the fires decimated business throughout the area. Clear Lake, the biggest lake in California, is a popular tourist attraction.

"It's really a catastrophe," she said. (Additional reporting by Ronnie Cohen in San Francisco; Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Teresa Carson in Portland; and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Dan Whitcomb and Mary Slosson; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Bill Trott and Lisa Shumaker)

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Gila National Forest Fire

    This image provided by the U.S. Forest Service shows a May 29, 2012 photo, of the massive blaze in the Gila National Forest is seen from Cliff, N.M. Fire officials said Wednesday the wildfire has burned more than 265 square miles has become the largest fire in New Mexico history. (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service)

  • Gila National Forest Fire

    In this Tuesday, May 29, 2012 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, a firefighter walks along a burn out line as part of an effort to contain the nation's largest wildfire in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. More than 1,200 firefighters are battling the blaze that has charred 340 square miles, or 218,000 acres, of terrain in the rugged mountains and canyons of southwestern New Mexico. (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service, Mark Pater)

  • Little Bear Fire

    Smoke billows from the Little Bear fire in southeastern New Mexico near Ruidoso, Saturday, June 9, 2012. Spanning only a few acres on Wednesday, the Little Bear fire began to grow Friday as spot fires formed outside established fire lines due to windy conditions. By Saturday morning, about 10,000 acres had been charred northwest of the mountain community of Ruidoso. (AP Photo/Roswell Daily Record, Mark Wilson)

  • Luce County, MI Fire

    In this Saturday, May 26, 2012 photo provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a wildfire burns in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The fire that began last week has burned 95 structures, with a third of them being homes or cabins. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Monday, May 28, 2012, that the Duck Lake Fire has burned more than 22,000 acres, or 34 square miles, in Luce County. (AP Photo/Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

  • San Bernardino Fire

    Firefighter Scott Abraham, of the San Bernardino County Fire Department, sprays water as his crew tries to keep the fire from crossing a San Diego County road Friday, May 25, 2012, near Julian, Calif. The blaze broke out Thursday afternoon east of Julian near Banner Grade. About 100 homes were temporarily evacuated in the Shelter Valley area along Highway 78 during the early stages of the fire but that order was lifted late Thursday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Gardnerville Fire

    CORRECTS DATE - Firefighters battle a wind-driven fire that has destroyed at least two homes and a number of outbuildings in Topaz Ranch Estates, south of Gardnerville, Nev., on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Cathleen Allison)

  • Hewlett Wildfire

    Fire burns through trees on the Hewlett wildfire in the Poudre Canyon northwest of Fort Collins, Colo., on Thursday, May 17, 2012. More than 50 homes were evacuated on Thursday. The fire has grown from 1.5 square miles to 8 square miles in the last day as erratic wind gusts of up to 50 mph moved into the area fueled by thunderstorms that didn┬'t produce rain. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Gladiator Fire

    Smoke from the wild fire can be seen from Spring Valley as the sun goes down and firefighters try to protect the town of Crown King Wednesday, May 16, 2012 in Crown King, Ariz. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Tingle) MARICOPA COUNTY OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES

  • Gladiator Fire

    The Gladiator Fire burns in the Bradshaw Mountains in Prescott National Forest, Ariz. on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. Authorities are worried that flames from the Gladiator Fire will get past a fire line that's about a mile west of the historic mining town of Crown King, fire incident spokeswoman Loretta Benavidez said Tuesday night. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Wallace) MARICOPA COUNTY OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES

  • Lower North Fork Wildfire

    Smoke envelops trees on a ridge in the Lower North Fork Wildfire as it burns in the foothills community of Conifer, Colo., southwest of Denver on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. Firefighters are now able to actively battle the blaze on the ground that started on Monday and has already destroyed at least 16 homes in the rugged terrain. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Reno WIldfire

    Emergency personnel respond to a wildfire in Reno, Nev. Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Nevada firefighters are battling a wind-whipped wildfire that has already burned several homes and caused several injuries. Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez sayfire crews are having a tough time "getting ahead of" the 400-acre blaze. He also says flames broke off into two areas in Caughlin Ranch. Hernandez says about a dozen homes have burned. (AP Photo/The Reno Gazette-Journal, Tim Dunn)

  • Reno Wildfire

    A firefighter tries to keep back the flames, whipped by strong winds, in Reno, Nev. Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Nevada firefighters are battling a wind-whipped wildfire that has already burned several homes and caused several injuries. Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez sayfire crews are having a tough time "getting ahead of" the 400-acre blaze. He also says flames broke off into two areas in Caughlin Ranch. Hernandez says about a dozen homes have burned. (AP Photo/The Reno Gazette-Journal, Tim Dunn)

  • Reno Wildfire

    A tree burns in the ravine along Manzanita Lane near Broken Arrow in Reno, Nev. Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Nevada firefighters are battling a wind-whipped wildfire that has already burned several homes and caused several injuries. Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez sayfire crews are having a tough time "getting ahead of" the 400-acre blaze. He also says flames broke off into two areas in Caughlin Ranch. Hernandez says about a dozen homes have burned. (AP Photo/The Reno Gazette-Journal, Liz Margerum) NEVADA APPEAL OUT; NO SALES

  • Smithville Fire

    In this Sept. 5, 2011 file photo firefighters battle a wildfire on Highway 71 near Smithville, Texas. Despite a recent lull in fire activity statewide, the threat remains in parts of Texas, so the Texas Forest Service is not declaring an end to the wildfire season that started Nov. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Erich Schlegel, File)

  • Smithville Fire

    File - In this Sept. 5, 2011 file photo, firefighters battle a large wildfire near Smithville, Texas. Long before this month's historic wildfires in Texas, the state's forest service came up with a $20.4 million plan to stop the flames from starting or tamp them out before small blazes grew deadly and destructive. Three years later, the plan is still only half-funded. (AP Photo/Erich Schlegel, File)

  • Smithville Fire

    File - In this Sept. 5, 2011 file photo firefighters battle a wildfire on Highway 71 near Smithville, Texas. Scorching temperatures, strong winds and dry vegetation are turning Texas wildfires into fast and furious dangers that hop from place to place within hours, even minutes, and give residents little time to flee. Now it

  • Okefenokee Swamp Fire

    In this June 9, 2011 photo provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Honey Prairie fire is seen burning in the Okefenokee Swamp in southeast Georgia. A wildfire started by lightning in the Okefenokee Swamp is still smoldering and sputtering six months after it started. (AP Photo/ US Fish and Wildlife Service, Howard McCullough)

  • Tuscarora Wildfire

    In this photo taken Oct. 3, 2011, fire and smoke cast a glow as a wildfire burns behind Tuscarora, Nev. about 52 miles northwest of Elko, Nev. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andr├ęson)

  • Tuscarora Wildfire

    In this photo taken Oct. 3, 2011, a firefighter takes a photograph of a crew member as they wait to for orders to move in for ground work as the Dunphy Complex Fire burns just outside Tuscarora, Nev., about 52 miles northwest of Elko, Nev. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press Ross Andr├ęson)

  • Pagami Creek Fire

    In this aerial photo, an area of the Pagami Creek wildfire shows active burning and creates a large smoke plume on Tuesday Sept. 13, 2011 in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northeastern Minnesota. The haze from the fire was heavy enough that some people reported burning eyes and difficulty breathing in the Chicago area, 600 miles south of the forest fire, the National Weather Service said. (AP Photo/The Duluth News-Tribune, Clint Austin)

  • Brasilia Fire

    A wildfire is seen at a national reserve in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Sept. 9, 2011. Drought, high temperatures and low humidity have caused wildfires at several places around Brasilia, according to officials. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

  • Tehachapi Fire

    A large wildfire to the southwest of Tehachapi, Calif. burns on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011. A single-engine Cessna 210 went down in Blackburn Canyon near the small community of Tehachapi, sparking a raging brush fire that sent up a huge plume of smoke visible for miles around, according to Kern County fire department spokesman Cary Wright. (AP Photo/Dave Mills)

  • Possum Kingdom Lake Fire

    A wildfire roars through dry trees near Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011. Texas and Oklahoma are in the grips of a record-setting drought, and a summer of soaring temperatures and little rain has meant the wildfire season, which usually ends in spring, didn't end this year. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Edmond Wildfire

    A wildfire burns near 63rd and Sooner Road on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011, in Edmond, Okla. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Chris Landsberger)

  • Air Depot Wildfire

    Cattle move to avoid the flames of a large grass fire in a farm off of Air Depot between 63rd and Wilshire in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011. Authorities have evacuated a larger area in Oklahoma City where a stiff winds and dry conditions fueled a wildfire that destroyed several homes. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Paul Hellstern)

  • Santa Barbara Wildfire

    In this Nov. 14, 2008 file photo, a firefighter sprays water on the flames as a mansion burns during a wildfire in Santa Barbara, Calif. As part of the recently approved California budget, owners of rural homes will be assessed a $150 annul fee for fire protection covered by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

  • The Monument Fire

    The Monument fire burns Thursday afternoon June 16, 2011 near Hereford, Ariz. Authorities say the Monument fire has charred more than 9,300 acres or 14 square miles. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Pat Shannahan)

  • Sierra Vista Wildfire

    Fire trucks escape the flames near South Andalusian Way after the fire jumped State Route 92 as a wildfire burns on Thursday, June 16, 2011 near Sierra Vista, Ariz. (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Dean Knuth)

  • Wallow Fire

    The Wallow fire burns towards Eagar, Ariz, north of Greer, Ariz,, Wednesday night June 8, 2011. The fire in eastern Arizona that already forced thousands from their homes headed Wednesday for a pair of transmission lines that supply electricity to hundreds of thousands of people as far east as Texas. (AP Photo/Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic)

  • Wallow Fire

    In this June 10, 2011 file photo, a forest burns during a backburn operation to fight the Wallow Fire in Nutrioso, Ariz. The West's 2012 wildfire season exploded in earnest last month with a wind-whipped blaze that killed three people in rugged alpine canyon country near Denver. At its peak, it took a 700-strong federal firefighting team a week of labor, day and night, to tame the blaze _ and other states throughout the West took notice.Fire experts say this year's drought, low snowpack and record-high temperatures in much of the West portend a dangerous installment of what has become year-round wildfire threat. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

  • Arizona Wildfire Is Largest in State's History

    The massive wildfire in Arizona is now 750 square miles and beginning to threaten towns in New Mexico.

  • Wildfires Sweep Through Colorado

    Firefighters struggle to battle a huge fire in an inaccessible forest near Fort Collins, Colorado.