Thousands flee wildfires burning in the western U.S. and Canada

Monday, July 10, 2017

Wildfires barreled across the baking landscape of the western U.S. and Canada, destroying a smattering of homes, forcing thousands to flee and temporarily trapping children and counselors at a California campground.

Two major wildfires in California have sent nearly 8,000 people fleeing to safety.

About 4,000 people evacuated and another 7,400 were told to prepare to leave their homes as fire swept through grassy foothills in the Sierra Nevada, about 60 miles north of Sacramento, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Sunday.

The fire burned nearly 8 square miles, destroyed at least 10 structures and damaged critical infrastructure, leading Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency to provide assistance to local authorities.

In Southern California, at least 3,500 people evacuated as two fires exploded in size at separate ends of Santa Barbara County and a third one threatened homes near a town in San Luis Obispo County.

Firefighters have been able to build containment lines around about half the wildfire that forced the evacuation of hundreds of people near Breckenridge, Colo. The fire has not spread since it broke out Wednesday and was still less than a square mile Sunday.

In rural Arizona, fire officials say three homes were among 10 buildings that were burned. The wildfire there has led to the evacuation of the entire town of Dudleyville, about 100 miles  southeast of Phoenix.

A wildfire burning in near Summer Lake in south-central Oregon has destroyed a hunting cabin and an outbuilding.

And in Nevada, fire officials have ordered evacuations for a wildfire that is near the same area where another blaze has already burned for days.

In Canada, firefighters were contending with more than 200 wildfires burning in British Columbia that had destroyed dozens of buildings, including several homes and two airport hangars. The three biggest fires, which ranged in size from 5 to 8 square miles, had forced thousands of people to flee.

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