California governor declares emergency amid fires

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California governor declares emergency amid fires
Theresa Carroll, center, and Larry Russell, right, of the Shasta County Fire Dept. Montgomery Creek, put out hot spots left behind by the Eiler Fire on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, in Hat Creek, Calif. Officials hoped humid conditions Monday will aid firefighters battling two wildfires in Northern California that have scorched more than 100 square miles and are menacing a small town. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A charred forest is seen in the aftermath of the Eiler Fire on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, near Burney, Calif. Light rain and higher humidity are helping crews make progress in their fight against two wildfires in the Northern California forest that are just miles apart. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Remington Jones, of the Point Reyes National Seashore, Calif., Engine 1130 looks for hot spots left behind by the Eiler Fire on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, near Burney, Calif. The fire is threatening more than 700 homes, some of which have been evacuated. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Remington Jones, of the Point Reyes National Seashore, Calif., Engine 1130, looks for hot spots left behind by the Eiler Fire on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, near Burney, Calif. The fire is threatening more than 700 homes, some of which have been evacuated. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Remington Jones, of the Point Reyes National Seashore, Calif., Engine 1130, works on putting out hot spots left behind by the Eiler Fire on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, near Burney, Calif. The fire is threatening more than 700 homes, some of which have been evacuated. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Matt Rietenbach, right, of the Shasta County Fire Dept. Montgomery Creek, hoses down hot spots left behind by the Eiler Fire on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, in Hat Creek, Calif. Firefighters were focusing on two wildfires near each other in Northern California that have burned through more than 100 square miles of terrain. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
This Monday, July 28, 2014 photo released Thursday, July 31, 2014 by the U.S. Forest Service, shows flames and smoke in the Sierra National Forest, Calif. On Thursday, Fire crews are battling a blaze in Sierra National Forest about 60 miles northeast of Fresno, Calif. that was creeping closer to the Mammoth Pool Reservoir, a popular recreation spot that supplies drinking water. (AP Photo/U.S. National Forest Service, Burt Stalter)
The remains of a burned home lie in the Foresta community in Yosemite National Park in California on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Fire crews gained ground Tuesday on two of the largest wildfires in California, lifting evacuation orders for about half the homes in the path of a blaze in Yosemite and redeploying firefighters battling another fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento. (AP Photo/Al Golub)
A burned home and pickup truck lie in the Foresta community in Yosemite National Park in California on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Fire crews gained ground Tuesday on two of the largest wildfires in California, lifting evacuation orders for about half the homes in the path of a blaze in Yosemite National Park and redeploying firefighters battling another fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento. (AP Photo/Al Golub)
This image released by the Madera County Sheriff's Department shows a bear running through smoke in the Sierra foothills in Sierra National Forest, Calif, on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Fire crews gained ground Tuesday on two of the largest wildfires in California, lifting evacuation orders for about half the homes in the path of a blaze in Yosemite National Park and redeploying firefighters battling another fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento. (AP Photo/Madera County Sheriff's Department)
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA - JULY 28: The El Portal Fire at 5% containment burns on the western edge on July 28, 2014 in Yosemite National Park, California. More than 500 fire personnel have been battling the fire which has spread across 2,600 acres and threatening nearby homes and roads. (Photo by Don Smith/Getty Images)
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ALTURAS, Calif. (AP) -- A fast-growing wildfire along the Oregon-California border spurred evacuation notices even as California's governor declared a state of emergency to help fight blazes raging in the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown's order Saturday night came as fires in other West Coast states burned through parched forests, brush and terrain, destroying some homes, threatening many others and forcing evacuations.

California Gov. Declares State Of Emergency

In California, dry lightning, high temperatures and severe drought conditions exacerbated the fire danger as more than a dozen significant wildfires flared, some of which also damaged or destroyed dwellings and prompted residents to flee.

Brown's proclamation said that the circumstances and magnitude of the wildfires are beyond the control of any single local government and will require the combined forces of regions to combat.

To that end, he secured a federal grant on Saturday to cover 75 percent of the cost to fight a wildfire that started in Oregon and crossed into California. The lightning-sparked Oregon Gulch fire destroyed at least 3 homes and was threatening about 270 structures on both sides of the border, authorities said.

By midnight Saturday, officials said the blaze had burned across 50 square miles of land, compared with 33 square miles earlier in the day.

Authorities on both sides of the border responded as the Oregon Gulch fire expanded. Oregon's Klamath County Sheriff's office and the sheriff in Siskiyou County both issued evacuation notices for some homes in rural regions, though it wasn't immediately clear how many residences were affected.

"Fire behavior for the Oregon Gulch Fire was extreme with rapid rates of spread," said a statement posted on the official wildfire incident website. "The fire has moved east, deeper into Klamath County."

Elsewhere, two more fires were reported in Central Oregon, bringing the total to 30 fires reported in the past 24 hours, the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center said Saturday.

Further north, a freshly sparked wildfire in Washington state burned down six to eight homes. Dramatic scenes played out overnight as residents tried to keep the flames at bay, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said.

"Some great saves were made. Unfortunately, not all the homes were saved," he said.

Downed trees blocked Highway 20, which was reopened Saturday morning after the Rising Eagle Fire calmed down overnight, Rogers said.

The Methow Valley wildfire near the much larger Carlton Complex of fires has grown to between 400 and 600 acres, fire spokesman Andy Lyon said.

The Carlton Complex has burned an area of about 395 square miles and destroyed about 300 homes. As of Saturday morning, it was 81 percent contained.

About 200 homes are under an evacuation order from the Rising Eagle Road Fire burning in a wooded area with homes scattered throughout.

In California, the scope and intensity of the blazes was comparable to the fire activity the state normally sees in September, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Dennis Mathisen said.

"This is unusual in terms of where we are in the fire season," he said. "The fire conditions are extreme and when you add dry lightning, it's a recipe for disaster."

The fires were burning as far south as the Sierra National Forest, about 70 miles from where another blaze sparked evacuations in and around Yosemite National Park earlier in the week.

One of the most dangerous California blazes was burning in Modoc County near the community of Day, where about 150 homes were under a mandatory evacuation order. It has burned nearly 20 square miles, and was only 20 percent contained.

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