A wildfire burns south of Barton Flats in the San Bernardino, Calif., Mountains on Thursday, 18 June 2015. The wildfire forced the evacuation of nearly 200 campers, most of them children, from campgrounds in the San Bernardino National Forest. Photo: John Valenzuela / The Sun via AP

18 June 2015 (Associated Press) – Wildfires are chewing through parched parts of the West, where temperatures are rising Thursday. Here's a look at the latest hotspots and what crews are doing to control them.


Two wildfires are burning outside Anchorage, one that tripled in size and forced the evacuation of campsites on the Kenai Peninsula and another in the heart of Alaska's dog-mushing community that firefighters have kept from growing.

A blaze in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge ballooned to about 14 square miles as temperatures warmed in low humidity. Eight structures — anything from a home to a chicken coop — have been destroyed since Monday.

More than 250 firefighters battled the blaze between a highway and the Kenai River, Alaska's most popular sport-fishing venue. Up to 500 more personnel are expected from the Lower 48 states.

More than 420 firefighters have kept another wildfire at about 12 square miles, this one in Willow, where the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race normally begins. Some residents were expected to return Thursday to the community about 40 miles north of Anchorage.

A preliminary assessment showed 132 properties were in the burned area and 26 homes were destroyed, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough's Facebook page said Thursday. […]


A Southern California desert wildfire burned three homes Thursday and another blaze in the San Bernardino Mountains grew to over 15 square miles as smaller blazes erupted in drought-parched areas up and down the state.

Small but fierce fires burned in grass, trees and brush.

A 60-acre fire erupted in a palm grove in the desert town of Thermal, 135 miles southeast of Los Angeles. By late afternoon, it had burned three homes and several outbuildings, state fire officials reported.

About an hour's drive northwest, a wildfire burning since Wednesday exploded in size in a remote area of the San Bernardino National Forest.

About 400 people, including residents of about two dozen homes and several hundred campers, many of them children, had been evacuated as the fire burned south of Big Bear Lake.

Other fires being fought included a 100-acre blaze in Yuba County in the Sierra Nevada foothills north of Sacramento. More than a dozen homes were ordered evacuated after a training fire for state crews reportedly was swept out of control by gusty winds north of Smartsville.

Crews also fought a 35-acre wildfire in Mariposa County; a 50-acre blaze in San Joaquin County; and a 40-acre fire near the Central California rural town of Bootjack that briefly forced evacuations. [more]

Western wildfires: Firefighters battling blazes in 4 states as weather heats up in West



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