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Western wildfires: Crews try to wrangle blazes in 4 state

By The Associated Press

Wildfires are sweeping through several dry Western states, including a massive blaze burning out of control in Northern California. A look at the latest hotspots and what crews are doing to control them:

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

A wildfire has grown to 26 square miles in hazardous and inaccessible terrain south of Lake Tahoe and is moving closer to structures, officials said.

No buildings have been damaged, but the mountain town of Markleeville remained on standby Wednesday for possible evacuations, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Several campgrounds have been evacuated, and two highways have been closed.

The fire, ignited by lightning Friday, was not at all contained Wednesday.

Air tankers and helicopters helped hundreds of firefighters battle the blaze about 20 miles west of the Nevada border. One firefighter received a heat-related injury Tuesday.

Strong erratic winds and severe drought conditions have stoked the fire, and smoke can be seen as far away as Carson City, Nevada.

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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Crews relied on retardant-dropping aircraft to battle a huge forest fire that has been burning for a week in an inaccessible area of the San Bernardino Mountains.

The blaze about 90 miles east of Los Angeles was partially contained and holding steady at about 27 square miles. Firefighters took advantage of cooler weather to stop it from spreading.

No buildings have been lost, but several hundred people were forced to leave camps and vacation homes.

Another blaze near Santa Margarita in central California was mostly contained after burning two homes, four mobile homes and two recreational vehicles that people lived in.

The fire charred less than 3 square miles of dry brush, along with 10 other buildings. Crews hoped to have it fully surrounded in the next few days.

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ALASKA

Intensifying wildfires in Alaska have led to evacuations in several parts of the state, including a tiny village where residents fled on boats.

A small fire grew to more than a square mile in size just outside the Yukon River village of Nulato, prompting evacuations Monday from the Athabascan community of 250 people. The airport was too smoky for air evacuations, so residents traveled 36 miles by boat to another village.

Other wildfires have forced residents to flee from threatened rural areas. They include a two-fire complex southwest of Nenana that has burned 12 square miles and other fires near the eastern Alaska community of Eureka and just north of Fairbanks.

A firefighter has been treated for minor injuries from a bear bite after encountering the animal on a remote trail while working a blaze, officials said.

Fire managers said they have requested additional crews as hundreds of fires burn in Alaska.

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OREGON

A wildfire scorching a remote part of southwestern Oregon has grown to nearly 8 square miles, but hundreds of firefighters got it nearly halfway contained.

Incident commander Doug Johnson said fire lines will be tested in the coming days by a heat wave expected to bring triple-digit temperatures to the region.

The lightning-sparked blaze started June 11 and is burning in the Rogue-River Siskiyou National Forest.

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WASHINGTON

A wildfire burning in a remote area of Olympic National Park has scorched more than a square mile.

Fire managers said Tuesday that the blaze in a wilderness area has spread north into high mountains and rugged terrain. No properties are threatened by the 800-acre blaze ignited by lightning in late May. It smoldered and wasn't detected until June 14.

A federal team is being organized to respond to the fire about 13 miles north of Quinault.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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