More evacuations ordered as Northern California blaze grows

AP News
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Posted: Aug 12, 2015 9:40 AM
More evacuations ordered as Northern California blaze grows

LOWER LAKE, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire that forced some California residents to flee their home for a second time in recent weeks is rapidly growing, prompting authorities to order more evacuations.

Several fires are raging in other parts of the parched West. Here's a look at hotspots around Western states:

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

A wildfire chewed through timber and brush in Lake County, prompting more evacuations for homes in the rocky hills about 100 miles north of San Francisco.

Some residents of those homes had been previously chased out by an older 109-square-mile blaze.

The newer wildfire had charred almost 22 square miles by Tuesday evening. It was 5 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The fire, which erupted Sunday several miles from the community of Lower Lake, grew despite cooler temperatures and higher humidity.

More than 1,100 firefighters are battling the blaze that is threatening 50 structures. No homes have been destroyed, and no injuries have been reported.

Meanwhile, firefighters have nearly surrounded the larger nearby blaze that started about two weeks ago. That fire destroyed 43 homes.

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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

All evacuation orders have been lifted as crews have increased containment of a small wildfire sparked by a burning motor home in rural Riverside County.

Officials say one person from the motor home suffered burns to about 3 percent of his or her body. Three firefighters were taken to hospitals with minor injuries.

State fire officials said Tuesday that the blaze about halfway between Temecula and Palm Desert has been held to just under 500 acres. It is 50 percent contained.

On Monday evacuation orders were issued for a handful of neighborhoods east of State Route 74, but all were called off late Tuesday morning.

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MONTANA

A fire has burned almost 18 square miles in heavy timber in Glacier National Park, prompting some trail and campsite closures.

The flames spotted Sunday afternoon were threatening a historic patrol cabin and come weeks after another blaze led to campsite and resort evacuations during prime tourist season.

Crews fought the new fire from the air Tuesday because it is in such remote, rugged terrain.

Problems with firefighting efforts could arise with temperatures between 95 and 100 degrees expected through Thursday and strong winds Friday.

The older fire continues to burn, remaining at nearly 7 square miles and more than halfway contained.

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ARIZONA

Authorities say a 10-square-mile wildfire near the Arizona-California line that burned 11 homes and led to hundreds of others being evacuated is now 40 percent contained.

Officials said crews on Tuesday worked to hold the blaze in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge amid favorable weather and relatively light winds.

Firefighters have begun mopping up the fire that broke out Saturday. Officials say the evacuation order was lifted late Monday morning for 900 homes.

Byron Steward, emergency management coordinator for Mohave County, says around 100 homes in the Topock area will remain evacuated because they're near 11 homes that were burned Saturday.

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ELSEWHERE IN THE WEST

— A wildfire burning along the west shore of Lake Chelan in Washington has grown to nearly 54 square miles, but firefighters were keeping it away from the communities of Holden Village and Stehekin.

— A wildfire in Lewis County, Washington, charred about 100 acres and was controlled Tuesday.

— In Alaska, the fire season has officially become the second biggest on record. More than 5.08 million acres — or 7,940 square miles — has burned this year. Fire spokesman Sam Harrel says Alaska won't beat the 6.6 million acres burned in 2004 because the state has entered its seasonal wet period.