Evacuations ordered as Southern California fire grows

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Firefighters Battle 200-Acre Wildfire in Santa Clarita


Wildfires are sweeping through several dry Western states, including a blaze that forced hundreds to evacuate in California and another that showed new life after burning for a week. A look at the latest hotspots and what crews are doing to control them:

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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Evacuations were ordered as a huge forest fire burning for more than a week through rugged terrain in the San Bernardino Mountains stretched east into the desert.

The blaze about 90 miles east of Los Angeles showed new life as winds shifted. The tiny Mojave communities of Burns Canyon and Rimrock were under evacuation orders on Thursday. Evacuations were voluntary in nearby Pioneertown.

A change in wind direction forced the evacuation of several hundred campers on Wednesday, after several hundred more had done the same over the weekend.

Crews relied on retardant-dropping aircraft to battle the hard-to-reach fire, which began June 17 in mountain wilderness.

It charred about 33 square miles of old-growth timber and brush and was only partially contained.

A wildfire north of Los Angeles that drove about 1,000 people from their homes and briefly shut down lanes of a major freeway was reduced to mostly embers.

All evacuations were called off late Wednesday about nine hours after the blaze broke out in the Newhall area of Santa Clarita.

At its height some 500 homes had to be evacuated as flames came very close to some of them, and lanes of Interstate 5 were shut down.

The damage was limited to a single garage and the 350-acre blaze was 45 percent contained.

Photos taken of the 2015 wildfires across the west:

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Western wildfires June 2015
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Evacuations ordered as Southern California fire grows
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: A Cal Fire firefighter practices extinguishing a grass fire during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

A wildfire has grown to 26 square miles in hazardous and inaccessible terrain south of Lake Tahoe and is moving closer to structures, officials said.

No buildings have been damaged, but the mountain town of Markleeville remained on standby Wednesday for possible evacuations, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Several campgrounds have been evacuated, and two highways have been closed.

The fire, ignited by lightning Friday, was 10 percent contained by Wednesday evening.

Air tankers and helicopters helped 900 firefighters battle the blaze about 20 miles west of the Nevada border. One firefighter received a heat-related injury Tuesday.

Strong, erratic winds and severe drought conditions have stoked the fire, and smoke can be seen as far away as Carson City, Nevada.

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ALASKA

Growing wildfires have led to more evacuations in Alaska's parched interior, with an international mushing champion evacuating his dogs from one of two communities where residents voluntarily fled their homes.

More than 270 fires are burning in Alaska, including one near Eureka that led Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race champion Brent Sass to evacuate his dogs to Fairbanks, news station KTUU reported.

In Tanana, a tribal nonprofit flew 62 people 130 miles to Fairbanks, focusing on elders, children and people with health conditions. The Tanana Chiefs Conference, a consortium of 42 villages in the interior, also flew six people from the village of Hughes on Tuesday as a precaution in case it gets worse in that village, which is about 10 miles from a fire.

An area just north of Fairbanks also faced an evacuation advisory. Fairbanks, the interior's largest city, also has been smoky because of fires in the region even though it hasn't been directly touched by flames.

There were 40 new fires reported Tuesday, bringing the total of active fires to 278. Altogether, fires have burned nearly 636 square miles.

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OREGON

A wildfire scorching a remote part of southwestern Oregon has grown to nearly 8 square miles, but hundreds of firefighters have worked to get it nearly halfway contained.

Incident commander Doug Johnson said fire lines will be tested in the coming days by a heat wave expected to bring triple-digit temperatures to the region.

The lightning-sparked blaze started June 11 and is burning in the Rogue-River Siskiyou National Forest.

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WASHINGTON

Cooler temperatures have helped temper the growth of a wildfire burning in Olympic National Park.

The fire was estimated at about 1 1/2 square miles Wednesday. The 950-acre blaze is burning high in the tree tops in a wilderness area about 13 miles north of Quinault. No structures were threatened.

Fire managers say they're monitoring the blaze and fighting it when it's safe.

Park official Todd Rankin says the fire is very unusual for this time of year. It was caused by a lightning strike in late May.

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