Wildfires prompt evacuations in Alaska, road closures in California

JUNEAU, Alaska - Several hundred residents in Alaska were told to leave their homes on Tuesday as swiftly growing wildfires on the drought-stricken U.S. West Coast closed highways and destroyed buildings, officials said.

JUNEAU,  Alaska  - Several hundred residents in  Alaska  were told to leave their homes on Tuesday as swiftly growing wildfires on the drought-stricken  U.S. West Coast  closed highways and destroyed buildings, officials said.

Blazes near the  northeast Alaska  communities of Nulato and Tanana along the  Yukon River  prompted authorities to call for evacuations of several hundred people, a forestry official said. Farther upstream, another blaze of more than 18,000 acres  threatened a major roadway linking  Anchorage  and  Fairbanks .

A firefighter working a blaze in  Chugach National Forest  suffered minor injuries in an encounter with a bear.

The new  Alaska  fires come as firefighters were gaining an edge over two blazes that erupted this month in the greater  Anchorage  area.

Hot, dry conditions were fueling fires along the  U.S. West Coast .


More than 1,900 firefighters toiling overnight in the mountains east of Los Angeles drew containment lines around about a third of a blaze that has blackened some 17,405 acres (7,050 hectares), the  San Bernardino County Fire Department  said.

The fire's growth was slower overall but firefighters warned that the weather will remain warm and dry with gusty winds over the next few days.

Campsites and a highway remained closed and an unspecified number of residents had been ordered from their homes.

One firefighter working overnight was injured when he was hit by water dumped by a helicopter. His injuries were not life-threatening.

In  Los Angeles County , firefighters contained a five-acre (two-hectare) morning brush fire that briefly forced the closure of southbound Interstate 5.

Another  California  fire near San Luis Obispo destroyed six homes, two recreational vehicles and 10 outbuildings, according to a Tuesday morning tally. Another blaze, outside  Fresno , has destroyed three outbuildings.

In Washington state, a wildfire that has burned nearly 800 acres in the Olympic Peninsula was being propelled through steep terrain by dry lichens in the old-growth rainforest canopy, a fire official said.

In  southern Oregon , forestry officials expanded burn restrictions to 16 counties while firefighters had contained almost half of a 5,000-acre fire in Cave Junction.


Twenty of  Oregon 's 36 counties are under a drought emergency. Governor  Kate Brown  said in a statement the state had to prepare for the long-term effects of climate change by investing in drought mitigation.

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