The Latest: Blaze cuts off highway from California to Nevada

AP News
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Posted: Jul 23, 2015 8:45 PM
The Latest: Blaze cuts off highway from California to Nevada

The latest on wildfires burning in Montana, Washington and California:

5:40 p.m. PDT

A Northern California wildfire has led to the closure of a major highway between Sacramento and Reno, Nevada, and brought a handful of mandatory evacuations.

The blaze broke out at about 2 p.m. Thursday near South Lake Tahoe and within a few hours had grown to about 60 acres in heavy timber along steep canyon walls.

The fire is burning on both sides of U.S. Highway 50, which has been shut down in both directions.

The U.S. Forest Service says some mandatory evacuations have been called for in the rural area, but it isn't immediately clear how many homes or people are affected.

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4:20 p.m. MDT

An elite team is taking command of efforts to beat back a wildfire in Montana's Glacier National Park that has sent tourists fleeing from hotels and campgrounds.

The Type 1 Incident Management Team, a group that responds only to the highest-priority fires, began arriving Thursday and is scheduled to take command that night.

Firefighters braced for gusting winds and warm temperatures that could spark a fresh run by the flames that have charred more than 6 square miles.

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2:55 p.m. PDT

A fire burning about 45 minutes east of Northern California's Napa Valley wine country that is threatening 200 homes has grown as it raged on for a second day.

More than 10 ½ square miles have burned in drought-parched countryside near Lake Berryessa. Winds have died down from Wednesday and temperatures are cooler, hovering around 75 degrees.

The most active part of the fire is burning along a mountain range in a remote area several miles from a highway that feeds into the lake park. Water is being scooped from the lake and dumped on the fire.

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1:35 p.m. PDT

Crews fighting a wildfire in southeast Washington are working to prevent flames from reaching a watershed that provides drinking water for the city of Walla Walla.

Firefighters are removing fuels and securing lines to prevent it from reaching the boundary of the Mill Creek Watershed, fire spokeswoman Amber Mahoney said Thursday.

The blaze has destroyed one home and threatens dozens others as an estimated 1,000 firefighters battled it in steep, challenging terrain. It has scorched nearly 9 square miles of grass, shrubs and timber about 10 miles east of Walla Walla, a city of 60,000 people.

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12:35 p.m. PDT

California officials say they have received a federal grant to help fight a wildfire about 45 minutes east of Northern California's Napa Valley wine country.

The fire has forced a few hundred people out of their homes and ranches as crews tried Thursday to control it. The wind-whipped blaze is threatening 200 homes and has burned more than 9 square miles in drought-parched countryside near Lake Berryessa.

The governor's Office of Emergency Services did not release the amount of the grant that will bring all available resources to suppress the fire.

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1:35 p.m. MDT

Officials say a wildfire in Montana's popular Glacier National Park slowed overnight due to higher humidity and lower temperatures.

But that was expected to change Thursday as the wind picked up and the heat spiked. Firefighters and equipment were arriving to help slow the fire's spread and to protect a hotel and campground in its path.

The fire comes amid prime tourist season and is leading some people to change their plans to visit.