Share this story...
Latest News

The Latest: Fires threaten national park’s icons

The charred remains of a burned out home are seen Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, in the Sunland-Tujunga section of Los Angeles. Wildfires forced thousands to flee their homes across the U.S. West during a sweltering, smoke-shrouded holiday weekend of record heat. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on wildfires in the U.S. West (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

Winds are pushing wildfires burning around two crown jewels of the National Park Service toward the doorstep of a century-old lodge and into an ancient grove of sequoias.

The fires in Montana’s Glacier National Park and outside of California’s Yosemite National Park are not only disrupting Labor Day travel plans, they are threatening the areas’ natural and manmade icons.

A 14-square-mile (36 square kilometer) fire that consumed a historic Glacier backcountry chalet last week is moving toward Lake McDonald Lodge, a focal point for park visitors.

Rangers have evacuated tourists, laid hoses and sprinklers around the hotel and are standing guard as the wind drives the blaze down the mountainside toward the lake’s shores.

Outside Yosemite, it’s not clear whether a 15-square-mile (39-square-kilometer) fire has damaged any of the 2,700-year-old trees in the Nelder Grove.

___

12:15 p.m.

Fire officials say a blaze burning in a rural part of Northern California has destroyed 72 homes.

Fire information officer Bill Paxton said Monday the fire near the Trinity County community of Helena had forced about 2,000 people to evacuate.

Helena is about 150 miles south of the Oregon border on the edge of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

The fire has burned 14 square miles (36 kilometers) and is 14 percent contained. Paxton said crews were improving containment lines, and they appeared to be holding the blaze.

Fire officials, meanwhile, said 32 homes were destroyed by a separate fire in rural Butte County. That’s up from the initial assessment of 20 homes.

___

10:05 a.m.

Officials say winds from a thunderstorm pushed a blaze near Yosemite National Park farther into a grove of 2,700-year-old giant sequoias.

Fire information officer Anne Grandy said Monday that crews don’t know yet whether the 15-square-mile (39 kilometer) fire has damaged any trees in Nelder Grove outside the park. She says giant sequoias are resilient and can withstand low intensity fires.

A thunderstorm over the blaze on Sunday pushed it out about a mile (1.6 kilometers) in a span of two hours. The fire is partially contained and has forced the evacuation of a small town.

The Nelder Grove holds more than 100 giant sequoias, including one of the world’s largest, the 24-story-high Bull Buck sequoia

___

11:45 a.m.

Officials say a Los Angeles fire that destroyed four homes and threatened hillside neighborhoods is no longer burning actively.

Still, Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said Monday that wind conditions could reignite the blaze, so fire officials were not reducing the number of firefighters at the scene.

A sudden gusty series of rainstorms allowed officials Sunday to call off evacuations for Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale and allow all of the 1,400 people who had fled to return to their homes.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called the fire the largest in the city’s history and had declared a local emergency. The fire has burned nearly 11 square miles (28 kilometers) and was 30 percent contained.

Fire officials had initially said three homes were destroyed but upped that number Monday.

___

10:05 a.m.

Officials say winds from a thunderstorm pushed a blaze near Yosemite National Park farther into a grove of 2,700-year-old giant sequoias.

Fire information officer Anne Grandy said Monday that crews don’t know yet whether the 15-square-mile (39 kilometer) fire has damaged any trees in Nelder Grove outside the park. She says giant sequoias are resilient and can withstand low intensity fires.

A thunderstorm over the blaze on Sunday pushed it out about a mile (1.6 kilometers) in a span of two hours. The fire is partially contained and has forced the evacuation of a small town.

The Nelder Grove holds more than 100 giant sequoias, including one of the world’s largest, the 24-story-high Bull Buck sequoia.

___

10:15 p.m.

Wildfires forced thousands to flee their homes across the U.S. West during a sweltering, smoke-shrouded holiday weekend of record heat.

The fires Sunday caused evacuations in Glacier National Park in Montana and many other parts of the West; compelled crews to rescue about 140 hikers who had spent the night in the woods after fire broke out along the popular Columbia River Gorge Trail in Oregon; and led firefighters to step up efforts to protect a 2,700-year-old grove of giant sequoia encroached by flames near Yosemite National Park in California.

A sudden gusty series of rainstorms allowed Los Angeles, however, to cancel evacuation orders for a wildfire that the mayor called the largest in the city’s history and sent beach umbrellas and toy shovels bouncing down Southern California beaches late Sunday.

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