Jun 26, 4:45 PM EDT

Western wildfires: Southern California fire roars to life

AP Photo
AP Photo/Stan Lim

Wildfires are chewing through parched parts of the West, including a resurgent blaze in California that forced residents of some desert communities to flee their homes. A look at the latest hotspots and what crews are doing to control them:

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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

A 10-day-old wildfire chewed through more timber and brush in the San Bernardino Mountains, threatening thousands of homes and other structures as it stretched northeast into the desert.

The blaze about 90 miles east of Los Angeles has scorched more than 46 square miles by Friday - much of that after roaring back to life midweek. Residents of the tiny Mojave communities of Burns Canyon and Rimrock were ordered to leave their homes Thursday.

Evacuations were voluntary in nearby Pioneertown, where Old West-style wooden buildings were constructed for use as a movie set in the 1940s.

The forecast calls for weekend thunderstorms, which could produce mixed results for firefighting efforts, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Carol Underhill said. Rain could help control the fire, but lightning could spark new burns while erratic winds could drive the flames.

More than 2,000 firefighters are working the blaze that started June 17, and costs are estimated to top $17 million.

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

A week after lightning ignited a massive wildfire south of Lake Tahoe, hundreds of firefighters are still trying to get the 26-square-mile under control.

Some of the 210 residents of Markleeville have heeded a voluntary evacuation order and left the mountain town. Several campgrounds were previously evacuated, and two highways remain closed.

No buildings have been damaged in the fire about 20 miles west of the Nevada border, the Bureau of Land Management said. As of Friday morning, it was partially contained.

Meanwhile, a fast-moving blaze charred more than 50 acres and damaged three structures Thursday evening in Livermore, east of San Francisco. One firefighter was injured, but no further details were released.

The fire was quickly contained, but a barn, a vehicle and a shipping container were destroyed and a home was damaged.

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ALASKA

Fire crews are attacking intensifying wildfires in Alaska that together grew more than 450 square miles in one day.

The smoky wildfires prompted more residents to flee their home in voluntary evacuations.

Fire managers say 28 new fires were logged in the state Thursday, bringing the total to 316 fires burning almost 1,410 square miles. Much of the activity is taking place in Alaska's warm and parched interior.

The tiny Kuskokwim River villages of Aniak and Chuathbaluk (CHUATH'-bah-luck) are among communities uncomfortably close to blazes.

Aniak city manager Megan Leary says 57 elders, children and medically vulnerable people were flown to Bethel Thursday as a precautionary measure. Others from Chuathbaluk, 11 miles upriver, fled by boats to Aniak and then were flown to Bethel.

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IDAHO

New wildfires have ignited in Idaho, including one that quickly raced across about 15 1/2 square miles of grass and brush after a large bird is believed to have hit a power line and sparked it, officials say.

Hot, dry temperatures and wind complicated fire control efforts Thursday, The Idaho Statesman reported ( http://is.gd/a4chDD ).

The largest of the fires burned about 6 miles north of Emmett and threatened several structures but no evacuations were expected, Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Carrie Bilbao said.

It is scorching both private and BLM lands.

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OREGON

Firefighters have kept a wildfire in a remote part of southwestern Oregon at just over 8 square miles.

Incident commander Doug Johnson said low humidity, temperatures nearing 100 degrees and strong winds tested firefighting efforts Thursday, with little effect. It's more than halfway contained, but firefighters will keep watch as thunderstorms in the coming days threaten to cause more problems.

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

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