California wildfire forces evacuations as blazes hit US


LOS ANGELES, July 8 (Reuters) - Hundreds of people were ordered to evacuate from a fast-moving wildfire burning through steep terrain near California's central coast on Saturday, after searing temperatures and parched land fueled dozens of blazes in the U.S. West and Southwest.

The so-called Alamo Fire, feeding on bone-dry vegetation, nearly tripled in size on Saturday to about 19,000 acres on the border between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. More than 1,000 firefighters have been fighting the blaze that started on Thursday and was 10-percent contained as of Saturday afternoon, officials said.

There were 40 uncontained large U.S. wildfires on Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

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Wildfires rage across western United States
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Wildfires rage across western United States

The full moon rises over flames of the Alamo fire on a hilltop off Highway 166 east of Santa Maria, California, U.S. July 7, 2017. 

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Dept/Handout via REUTERS)

Smoke from the Alamo fire rises in an aerial view near Santa Maria, California, U.S. July 7, 2017.

(San Luis Obispo Fire Department/Handout via REUTERS)

A young black bear leaves the area around Twitchell Dam as firefighters battle the Alamo fire near Santa Maria, California, U.S. July 7, 2017.

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Dept/Handout via REUTERS)

Smoke rises from the Goodwin Fire which had prompted the evacuation of the town of Mayer, Arizona, U.S. June 27, 2017.

(Arizona Department of Transportation/Handout via REUTERS)

Smoke rises from the Goodwin Fire which had prompted the evacuation of the town of Mayer, Arizona, U.S. June 27, 2017.

(Arizona Department of Transportation/Handout via REUTERS)

Smoke rises from the Goodwin Fire which had prompted the evacuation of the town of Mayer, Arizona, U.S. June 28, 2017.

(Arizona Department of Transportation/Handout via REUTERS)

An aerial photo of wildfires burning across almost 50,000 acres near the ski resort of Brian Head, about 245 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah is shown in this handout photo provided June 27, 2017.

(Courtesy Lt. Governor Spencer J Cox/Handout via REUTERS)

An aerial photo of wildfires burning across almost 50,000 acres near the ski resort of Brian Head, about 245 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah is shown in this handout photo provided June 27, 2017.

(Courtesy Lt. Governor Spencer J Cox/Handout via REUTERS)

Amy Noraka, holding daughter Sage, 3, left, and her husband Chris Noraka, with son Tyler, 6, watch as helicopters dump water on the Peak 2 fire on July 5, 2017 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The fire, which started shortly after noon, resulted in a mandatory evacuation for the Peak 7 neighborhood and an evacuation standby order for roughly 40 homes in the Gold Hill neighborhood. A shift in the wind is pushing the wildfire north and slowing its climb up the mountain. Eight smokejumpers and a local firefighting crew are on scene. An air attack is underway with a tanker dropping flame retardant and a helicopter conducting bucket drops. The fire broke out in the Gold Hill Trail area near Breckenridge.

(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Concerned residents look at the Peak 2 fire from the top of Swan Mountain Road on July 5, 2017 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The fire, which started shortly after noon, resulted in a mandatory evacuation for the Peak 7 neighborhood and an evacuation standby order for roughly 40 homes in the Gold Hill neighborhood. A shift in the wind is pushing the wildfire north and slowing its climb up the mountain. Eight smokejumpers and a local firefighting crew are on scene. An air attack is underway with a tanker dropping flame retardant and a helicopter conducting bucket drops. The fire broke out in the Gold Hill Trail area near Breckenridge.

(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Firetrucks arrive on scene to help fight the Peak 2 fire on July 5, 2017 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The fire, which started shortly after noon, resulted in a mandatory evacuation for the Peak 7 neighborhood and an evacuation standby order for roughly 40 homes in the Gold Hill neighborhood. A shift in the wind is pushing the wildfire north and slowing its climb up the mountain. Eight smokejumpers and a local firefighting crew are on scene. An air attack is underway with a tanker dropping flame retardant and a helicopter conducting bucket drops. The fire broke out in the Gold Hill Trail area near Breckenridge.

(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Fighters move into the woods to fight a wildfire that is burning on June 25, 2017 outside Panguitch, Utah. The fire named the 'Brian Head Fire' started last week and has burned more then 43,000 acres and destroyed 13 homes as of June 25th.

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

As the sun sets helicopters continue to make water dumps on the Peak 2 fire on July 5, 2017 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The fire, which started shortly after noon, resulted in a mandatory evacuation for the Peak 7 neighborhood and an evacuation standby order for roughly 40 homes in the Gold Hill neighborhood. A shift in the wind is pushing the wildfire north and slowing its climb up the mountain. Eight smokejumpers and a local firefighting crew are on scene. An air attack is underway with a tanker dropping flame retardant and a helicopter conducting bucket drops. The fire broke out in the Gold Hill Trail area near Breckenridge.

(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

A wildfire burned up to the the edge of a home but left it standing on June 25, 2017 outside Panguitch, Utah. The fire named the 'Brian Head Fire' started last week and has burned more then 43,000 acres and destroyed 13 homes as of June 25th.

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

As the sun sets helicopters continue to make water dumps on the Peak 2 fire on July 5, 2017 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The fire, which started shortly after noon, resulted in a mandatory evacuation for the Peak 7 neighborhood and an evacuation standby order for roughly 40 homes in the Gold Hill neighborhood. A shift in the wind is pushing the wildfire north and slowing its climb up the mountain. Eight smokejumpers and a local firefighting crew are on scene. An air attack is underway with a tanker dropping flame retardant and a helicopter conducting bucket drops. The fire broke out in the Gold Hill Trail area near Breckenridge.

(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

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One of the largest was the Truckee Fire in Nevada, which was nearly 100,000 acres in size, according to the InciWeb tracking service. There have been no immediate reports of fire-related deaths.

No major injuries have been reported in California's Alamo fire, according to Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Gina DePinto. She said authorities are working to evacuate people from the blaze, aiming to stop it from reaching wineries to the south and electric transmission lines to the southeast.

Heavy rainfall in parts of the West over the winter and spring helped delay the onset of the fire season, but also spurred the growth of dense vegetation that has dried out and become highly combustible in summertime heat.

Temperatures in the Southern Californian resort city of Palm Springs climbed to 122 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday, breaking a record high for that date set in 1976, according to the National Weather Service. The all-time recorded high was 123 degrees Fahrenheit, local news reports said.

Downtown Los Angeles, usually cooler than other parts of the city, set a record for the date at 96 degrees.

Excessive heat in desert regions in the U.S. Southwest could pose a threat to human life through Saturday night, according to a National Weather Service advisory.

Daily temperature records in several cities in the U.S. West may be tied or broken on Saturday, the Weather Service said.

By Sunday, high temperatures are forecast to reach the Plains states, including North and South Dakota and Iowa.

Wildfires have also spread rapidly in Canada this week.

The province of British Columbia declared its first state of emergency in 14 years late on Friday as dozens of wildfires spread throughout the rural interior of the Pacific province, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Diane Craft and Sandra Maler)

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