• Police identify 2 children killed in apartment explosion

    SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Authorities have identified two children killed in an explosion and fire at a Maryland apartment complex.

  • Chicago firefighters battle an apartment fire in the 8100 block of South Essex Avenue in the South Chicago neighborhood early on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016. The fire at a Chicago apartment building that appears to have been deliberately set killed multiple people Tuesday, police said. (Alexandra Chachkevitch/Chicago Tribune via AP)

    Police: 3 children, man die in Chicago apartment fire

    CHICAGO (AP) — A fire at a Chicago apartment building that appears to have been deliberately set killed four people Tuesday, including three children, police said.

  • Firefighters battle a wildfire Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, near Garden City, Utah. Crews were battling a small wildfire in northern Utah that was approaching a ski resort and a separate blaze in southern Utah burning through sage grouse habitat. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP)

    In dry, windy West, crews target flames in several states

    YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Growing wildfires stoked by windy, dry conditions have destroyed buildings and forced evacuations in California, Washington, Montana and elsewhere.

    Updated: 11:03 pm

  • Laura Sutton, center, the wife of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighter Nick Sutton, joins others at a rally calling for shorter hours and higher wages to retain firefighters, at the Capitol, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. Statistics provided to The Associated Press show vacancy rates exceeding 15 percent in some CaliFire positions. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

    California firefighters stretched thin as blazes sweep state

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s state fire department is stretched thin just as the bone-dry state enters the peak of its wildfire season, with vacancy rates exceeding 15 percent for some firefighters and supervisors. The vacancy rate is more than 10 percent for some fire engine drivers, according to statistics provided to The Associated Press.

  • Natural gas blamed in apartment explosion that killed 7

    SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — A buildup of natural gas caused an explosion and fire that killed seven people and injured dozens of others at a Maryland apartment building last week, investigators said Friday.

  • A wildfire flares up near Cajon Boulevard in Devore, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (David Pardo/The Daily Press via AP)

    Crews make major gains against Southern California wildfire

    SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — Lisa Gregory has kept a close eye on the weather since fleeing her home in the woods as a wildfire advanced in Southern California. She doesn’t know when she can return or whether her house was still standing.

  • In this May 22, 2015, file photo, Mexican state police stand guard near the entrance of Rancho del Sol, where a shootout with the authorities and suspected criminals happened near Vista Hermosa, Mexico. Mexico's National Human Rights Commission said on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, that it has concluded that 22 people were arbitrarily executed by federal police during the event. Commission President Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez said their investigation revealed a range of human rights abuses on the part of government forces. (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz, File)

    Mexico’s rights agency says police killed 22 at ranch

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Federal police killed at least 22 people on a ranch last year, then moved bodies and planted guns to corroborate the official account that the deaths happened in a gunbattle, Mexico’s human rights commission said Thursday.

  • A burned out residence stands amid rubble on Highway 138 after the Blue Cut Fire burned through Phelan, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

    Evacuated residents in limbo as wildfire burns in California

    SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — Twisted metal gates and rusted mailboxes remained where houses once stood. Flames had turned a lot full of cars — including some vintage models — into a junkyard of hollowed-out shells. Countless trees were scorched or gone.

  • In this April 13, 2016, file photo, Eddie Johnson, left, speaks after being sworn in as the new Chicago police superintendent in Chicago. Superintendent Johnson says he will recommend the firing of seven officers involved in the Oct. 20, 2014 shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Thursday Aug. 18, 2016 he was accepting the recommendations of the city's inspector general who concluded that the officers filed false police reports. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

    Chicago police recommend firing of 7 cops for false reports

    CHICAGO (AP) — Seven Chicago police officers should be fired for filing false reports in the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014, the police superintendent said Thursday, in a move aimed at repairing the reputation of a department dogged by decades of cover-ups and scandal.

  • Embers from a wildfire smolder along Lytle Creek Road near Keenbrook, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016.  Firefighters had at least established a foothold of control of the blaze the day after it broke out for unknown reasons in the Cajon Pass near Interstate 15, the vital artery between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Five years of drought have turned the state's wildlands into a tinder box, with eight fires currently burning from Shasta County in the far north to Camp Pendleton just north of San Diego. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

    California wildfire brings destruction and uncertainty

    SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — A ferocious wildfire had swallowed up many homes as it spread across more than 49 square miles of mountain and desert east of Los Angeles. Exactly how many, however, and to whom they belonged, remained uncertain.