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News / Nation & World

Wildfires burn in 7 states, prompt evacuations

Firefighters work to contain many Western blazes

By The Associated Press
Published: August 2, 2016, 9:58pm

Wildfires are burning in seven Western states, from California’s scenic Big Sur region to tribal towns and hamlets near Reno, Nev. More than a dozen homes were destroyed in Montana, and thousands of firefighters were battling other blazes Tuesday in Oregon and Wyoming. In Idaho, federal officials mobilized two U.S. Department of Defense retardant-dropping aircraft to help fight wildfires.

Here’s a look at some of the fires:

• CALIFORNIA: A wildfire north of scenic Big Sur spread overnight and has charred 67 square miles.

The blaze that broke out July 22 has destroyed 57 homes and is threatening 2,000 structures. It was less than 18 percent contained.

A fire official said that the deadly wildfire was started by an illegal campfire.

Fire information officer Deborah McClain said Tuesday that investigators determined the blaze started in an area of Garapata State Park where campfires are prohibited.

More than 5,400 firefighters from across California are fighting the fire in steep terrain.

• IDAHO: Federal officials mobilized two U.S. Department of Defense retardant-dropping aircraft to help fight wildfires in the West.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise said the C-130s will go into action on Wednesday and initially be based in Boise.

More than 1,400 firefighters were battling a blaze in rugged terrain in southwest Idaho that grew to 66 square miles and has destroyed a popular, state-operated backcountry yurt.

The $60,000 yurt is a round, tent-like structure with a dome roof and plastic skin.

• MONTANA: Firefighters were bracing for strong winds as they battled a blaze in western Montana that destroyed 14 homes and contributed to a man’s death.

The fire had burned 5.7 square miles in Bitterroot National Forest. Residents of about 500 homes southwest of Hamilton were evacuated.

• NEVADA: Firefighters expected dry, hot winds and the possibility of erratic flames in a series of wildfires that have charred almost 75 square miles in northwest Nevada.

Officials predicted humidity in the single-digits in the Virginia Mountains with wind gusts up to 45 mph.

Containment of the fires was estimated at 40 percent.

Residents in some rural areas have been told to prepare to evacuate quickly.

A nearly 8-square-mile wildfire was burning in the scenic Poodle Mountain Wilderness Study Area.

• OREGON: Crater Lake National Park remained open as a wildfire grew to more than 400 acres.

The fire led to the partial closure of the Pacific Crest Trail from Dutton Creek Camp to Red Cone Springs.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation. Officials said it could have resulted from a campfire.

• WASHINGTON: Fire crews were monitoring high winds and building fire lines as they tackled a large blaze in south-central Washington.

The wildfire was burning 12 miles north of Sunnyside.

The blaze has scorched about 273 square miles of brush and grass since it started Saturday on the U.S. Army’s Yakima Training Center. It was about 10 percent contained.

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• WYOMING: Evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes northwest of Dubois.

Firefighters have gained 50 percent containment of the fire that burned about 22 square miles of land.