Oregon wildfire threatens 200 homes; residents urged to leave

RUCH, Ore. (AP) -- Fire managers urged residents of 200 homes to flee Wednesday as a wind-whipped blaze pushed toward this southern Oregon community.

Special firefighting teams were stationed at homes in the town 225 miles south of Portland, not far from the California line. State forestry spokesman Mike Barsoti said the fire had burned a garage and outbuilding but no homes.

Wildfires across the West have nearly depleted Oregon of extra fire crews, but reinforcements were on the way from as far away as Florida. Gov. John Kitzhaber said he was preparing to call in 500 Oregon National Guard troops to help out.

The fire was caused by lightning over the weekend and has grown to nearly 2,000 acres.

There were 51 large fires burning across the nation Wednesday, according to the government's National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. So far this year, wildfires have charred 3.46 million acres -- far ahead of the 10-year average of 1.62 million acres.


-- An 8,600-acre wildfire inched away from more than 250 homes in the foothills near Topaz Lake, Nev. The threat has "significantly lessened," information officer Jenny Scanland said Wednesday.

-- A fire near Washington's Lake Chelan jumped from 125 acres late Tuesday to nearly 2,000 acres, threatening about a dozen vacation cabins.

-- A 70,000-acre wildfire near Durango, Colo., that destroyed 56 homes and forced 2,100 people to flee was contained Wednesday, more than a month after it started. About 60 miles away, crews extended containment lines around a 28,440-acre fire threatening homes in Redvale and Norwood.


On the Net:

National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov