Posted: Saturday, August 2nd 2014 at 9:14am
Fires force evacuations in West Coast states
By The Associated Press
Flames and smoke from a fire in the Sierra National Forest, Calif. (AP Photo/U.S. National Forest Service, Burt Stalter)
ALTURAS, Calif. (AP) -- Wildfires burning through dry terrain in West Coast states have forced scores of evacuations as fire teams worked to corral the blazes.
Lightning sparked dozens of fires in Northern California, including one in rural Modoc County that spurred some 120 people to evacuate, and the threat of more strikes along with winds from looming thunderstorms could aggravate the firefight.
Authorities in Siskiyou County near the Oregon border issued an evacuation notice late Friday.
The most dangerous of the fires was near the community of Day and had burned through nearly 18 square miles of brush and heavy timber and was threatening 150 structures Friday, two days after it began. It was only 10 percent contained.
Officials were expected to send additional fire crews to supplement the 700 or so firefighters battling the blaze, which is burning in heavy brush and steep terrain amid the thunderstorm threat, said state fire spokesman Dennis Mathisen.
"It's a challenging firefight due to the extreme fire conditions we're experiencing," Mathisen said.
The fire was among more than 40 that have broken out as a result of lightning strikes since Wednesday. Most were in remote areas and were not threatening homes, and many of them were quickly contained.
In Washington state, a new wildfire burning intensely amid high winds forced the evacuation of about 200 homes Friday.
Officials ordered the evacuations and closed part of state Highway 20 because of the surging fire that started in north-central Washington halfway between Twisp and Winthrop.
Washington state's Carlton Complex fire has burned 395 square miles and destroyed about 300 homes.
Along the Oregon-California border, a wildfire touched off by lightning has burned buildings and prompted evacuations, but there are no reports of any injuries.
The Oregon Gulch fire doubled since Thursday night to about 17 square miles, or just over 11,000 acres.
Fire crews in California also were battling a blaze in Sierra National Forest about 60 miles northeast of Fresno that threatened dozens of homes and forced a handful of evacuations Friday afternoon.
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