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California governor declares emergency amid fires

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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trbgd August 03 2014 at 9:11 AM

Pelosi can do anything.........she's Superwoman.....let her stop the fires with her foul mouth

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4 replies
pdbliz August 03 2014 at 9:04 AM

I have a idea,,,get all the Government welfare people to help fight the fire for there free monthly checks.!!!!
Get all the illegals my tax money supports to help fight the fires.!!!!

Flag Reply +17 rate up
10 replies
jim August 03 2014 at 9:55 AM

Put all of those damn ILLEGALS to work . Get them off of the welfare rolls & make them earn their keep.

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8 replies
atsistsi1 August 03 2014 at 3:22 PM

I live in California an it sucks. No water high taxes lot of welfare people. I wish I was younger I would move. It is turning in to Mexico. They live here because high welfare payments. They need to kick Gov. Browns butt out an put a Rep in office that will take life timers of welfare. We don't owe these people anything except jobs make them work. We work we don't get welfare. All our money is going for taxes to take care of them. We don't get free medical they do. I think we need to stop paying taxes. Maybe they will take a hint. You think.

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4 replies
English August 03 2014 at 11:46 AM

California has been in a state of emergency for years, and it only got worse when they voted the current Governlor into office. But like obama he promised the most give aways

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7 replies
skyofblue17 August 03 2014 at 9:27 AM

Doesn't California declare a state of emergency three or four times a year because of fires? Their smoke also pollutes other states. How about selectively cutting down some of the trees so the flames are not feeding off of them in raging, out-of-control constant fires.

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6 replies
hwlndrbrt August 03 2014 at 8:34 AM

California has been in a state of emergency since the sixties!

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4 replies
Garland August 03 2014 at 9:08 AM

with all the fires being constant all the time it is hard for me to not believe someone is setting them

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8 replies
cobra9832v August 03 2014 at 12:49 PM

burn baby burn get ride of the tree huggers

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1 reply
cliosbairn2 cobra9832v August 03 2014 at 3:58 PM

what a decent human being you are

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1 reply
sparrca cliosbairn2 August 03 2014 at 10:08 PM

Are you sure it is human?

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atsistsi1 August 03 2014 at 3:31 PM

They took my comment off cause I told the truth about this State it sucks high welfare high high Taxes to many Mexicans coming over here getting free health care an food an housing an we have to pay for it

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1 reply
Ray Walters atsistsi1 August 03 2014 at 4:00 PM

You got that right.

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