Flames from the Rocky fire near Clearlake, California, 3 August 2015. Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

LOWER LAKE, California, 12 August 2015 (Associated Press) – Wildfires are charging through several states in the parched West, scorching homes and forcing people to flee. Flames are plaguing some California residents, who had to evacuate for the second time in recent weeks after blazes exploded in size.

Here's a look at wildfires burning through Western states:

A Northern California blaze more than doubled in size overnight despite cooler temperatures and higher humidity.

The fire, which erupted Sunday several miles from the community of Lower Lake, had burned nearly 19 square miles, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

For the second time in as many weeks, residents had to evacuate their homes because of the uncontained fire lighting up rocky hills about 100 miles north of San Francisco. […]

In Alaska, the fire season has officially become the second biggest on record. More than 5.08 million acres — or 7,940 square miles — has burned this year. Fire spokesman Sam Harrel says Alaska won't beat the 6.6 million acres burned in 2004 because the state has entered its seasonal wet period. [more]

California blaze explodes in size as wildfires roast West

Firefighter Michael Hallenbeck is shown in this handout photo provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USDA) in Vallejo, California, 10 August 2015. The 21-year-old Sacramento-area man became the second California firefighter to die battling wildfire in 2015. Photo: REUTERS / USDABy Sharon Bernstein
10 August 2015

SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) – A 21-year-old Sacramento-area man became the second California firefighter to die battling wildfire this year, as a series of lightning strikes ignited blazes in the drought-parched Sierra Nevada over the weekend.

Michael Hallenbeck, of the Sierra foothill community of Shingle Springs, was killed on Saturday as he and his firefighting crew tackled a blaze near Lake Tahoe in Northern California, the U.S. Forest Service said on Sunday.

Dave Ruhl, 38, died last month fighting another Northern California fire.

"The grief we are feeling at the sudden loss of two of our firefighters, Dave Ruhl … on the Modoc National Forest and now Mike Hallenbeck on the Basin, reminds us of the sacrifices these men and women make every day,” U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore said in a statement.

On Sunday, family members buried Ruhl, a married father of two from South Dakota, who died of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning battling the Frog Fire in the Modoc National Forest on July 31.

Erin Ruhl, who survives him along with two children, said the 38-year-old was an active outdoorsman. […]

Forest Service spokeswoman Lisa Herron said that Hallenbeck died after he was hit by a falling tree and that the agency was investigating the incident. [more]

Second firefighter dies battling California forest fires



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