Wildfires Surge Amid Scorching Heat Across US West

LOS ANGELES — Smoke filled the sky and ash rained down across Los Angeles on Sunday from a wildfire that the mayor said was the largest in city history — one of several blazes that sent thousands fleeing homes across the U.S. West during a blistering holiday weekend heat wave.

In Oregon, crews rescued about 140 hikers forced to spend the night in the woods after fire broke out along the popular Columbia River Gorge Trail. Wildfires also burned in a 2,700-year-old grove of giant sequoia trees near Yosemite National Park, forced evacuations in Glacier National Park and drove people from homes in parts of the West struggling with blazing temperatures.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a local emergency. At the state level, Gov. Jerry Brown did the same for the county after the wildfire destroyed three homes and threatened hillside neighborhoods. More than a thousand firefighters battled flames that chewed through more than 9 square miles (23 kilometers) of brush-covered mountains.

Authorities eased evacuation orders for Burbank and Glendale later Sunday and were considering doing the same for Los Angeles, however, as easing temperatures and a bit of rain helped the 1,000 firefighters slow the flames' progress.

All but 10 percent of the 1,400 people ordered out of their homes in that fire had returned, Garcetti said.

"That can change in a moment's notice, and the winds can accelerate very quickly," Los Angeles Fire Capt. Ralph Terrazas cautioned. "There is a lot of fuel out there left to burn."

Officials were keeping an eye on thunderstorms in the mountains to the north, which could bring welcome rain but also the risk of flash floods, mudslides and lightning.

Burbank resident George Grair was not in the evacuation zone but watched uneasily as flames blackened a hillside in the near distance.

"It's very difficult to feel safe. I've got kids in the house," he told KABC-TV. "I probably slept two hours all night."

  • Slide 1 of 37: Craig Bolleson hugs his friend in his burned out home, 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)
  • Slide 2 of 37: BURBANK, CA - SEPTEMBER 03: Traffic on the 210 freeway is allowed to resume for the first time since the start of the La Tuna Fire, as light rain showers pass over the burn areas on September 3, 2017 near Burbank, California. At nearly 6,000 acres, the fire is the biggest fire in terms of acreage in Los Angeles city history. About 100 Los Angles firefighters are expected to return soon from Texas, where they've been helping survivors from Hurricane Harvey.    (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
  • Slide 3 of 37: A fire engine drives past a burned area from a wildfire Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, in the Sunland-Tujunga section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
  • Slide 4 of 37: A fire helicopter flies over a charred hillside during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, September 3, 2017. REUTERS/ Kyle Grillot     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC14ED137700
  • Slide 5 of 37: The moon rises over torched hills from the La Tuna fire in Los Angeles, California On September 3, 2017. Over 1,000 firefighters battled the 7,000-acre La Tuna fire during a triple-digit heat wave in Southern California. (Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
  • Slide 6 of 37: An S-64E Sikorsky Skycrane firefighting helicopter flies past firefighters on a smokey ridge during the La Tuna Fire on September 3, 2017 near Burbank, California. At nearly 6,000 acres, the fire is the biggest fire in terms of acreage in Los Angeles city history. About 100 Los Angles firefighters are expected to return soon from Texas, where they've been helping survivors from Hurricane Harvey.
  • Slide 7 of 37: A couple survey the damage as they walk near a cross that remains standing amid the scorched hillside that destroyed three homes and a shed and is silhouetted at sunset in the the La Tuna Canyon fire in Los Angeles Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. Firefighters were assisted by cooler temperatures and brief showers in their battle against the 5,900-acre brush fire in the Verdugo Mountains north of downtown Los Angeles.
  • Slide 8 of 37: A firefighter hoses down a hot spot below him from a section of hillside covered with Phos-Chek fire retardant during the La Tuna Fire on September 3, 2017 near Burbank, California. At nearly 6,000 acres, the fire is the biggest fire in terms of acreage in Los Angeles city history. About 100 Los Angles firefighters are expected to return soon from Texas, where they've been helping survivors from Hurricane Harvey.
  • Slide 9 of 37: Water is dropped behind houses in Sun Valley during the La Tuna Canyon fire in Los Angeles, California, September 3, 2017.
  • Slide 10 of 37: Firefighters evaluate hot spots near houses in Sun Valley during the La Tuna Canyon fire in Los Angeles, California, September 3, 2017.
  • Slide 11 of 37: Firefighters evaluate houses in a voluntary evacuation zone during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, September 3, 2017.
  • Slide 12 of 37: Water falls on firefighters as they evaluate a hillside during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, September 3, 2017.
  • Slide 13 of 37: Firefighters and spectators wait in Sun Valley during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, September 3, 2017.
  • Slide 14 of 37: A home, cars and property lies in ruins as it was one of three homes and a shed were destroyed in the the La Tuna Canyon fire along Crestline Drive in Los Angeles Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. Firefighters were assisted by cooler temperatures and brief showers in their battle against the 5,900-acre brush fire in the Verdugo Mountains north of downtown Los Angeles.
  • Slide 15 of 37: Water is dropped in Sun Valley during the La Tuna Canyon fire in Los Angeles, California, September 3, 2017.
  • Slide 16 of 37: Fire trucks wait to depart into the hillsides during La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, September 3, 2017.
  • Slide 17 of 37: BURBANK, CA - SEPTEMBER 03: A burned truck is seen at the La Tuna Fire on September 3, 2017 near Burbank, California. At nearly 6,000 acres, the fire is the biggest fire in terms of acreage in Los Angeles city history. About 100 Los Angles firefighters are expected to return soon from Texas, where they've been helping survivors from Hurricane Harvey.    (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
  • Slide 18 of 37: The La Tuna Canyon fire has burned 5,895 acres and is still at 10% contained in Burbank, California, September 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kyle Grillot - RC112CC76720
  • Slide 19 of 37: The La Tuna Canyon fire has burned 5,895 acres and is still at 10% contained in Burbank, California, September 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kyle Grillot - RC1951790F90
  • Slide 20 of 37: Firefighters evaluate houses in a voluntary evacuation zone during the La Tuna Canyon fire in Burbank, California, September 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kyle Grillot - RC128943A630
  • Slide 21 of 37: Dry brush is seen in the Santa Monica mountains, foreground, as the la Tuna Fire burns in the hills of Los Angeles Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. Smoke filled the sky and ash rained down across Los Angeles Sunday from a destructive wildfire that the mayor said was the largest in city history, one of several blazes that sent thousands fleeing homes across the U.S. West during a blistering holiday weekend heat wave. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
  • Slide 22 of 37: BURBANK, CA - SEPTEMBER 02: Flames spread on a moonlit night at the La Tuna Fire on September 2, 2017 near Burbank, California. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference that officials believe the fire, which is at 5,000 acres and growing, is the largest fire ever in L.A. People have been evacuated from hundreds of homes in Sun Valley, Burbank and Glendale. About 100 Los Angles firefighters are expected to return soon from Texas, where they've been helping survivors from Hurricane Harvey.    (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
  • Slide 23 of 37: The La Tuna fire burns above downtown Burbank, California, onSeptember 3, 2017.  More than 5,000 acres (2.023 hectares) have burned in the intense brush fire forcing people from their homes, shutting down an interstate and sending massive plumes of smoke in the air, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
  • Slide 24 of 37: The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, U.S., U.S., September 2, 2017.
  • Slide 25 of 37: The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, U.S., September 2, 2017.
  • Slide 26 of 37: The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, U.S., September 2, 2017.
  • Slide 27 of 37: Flames encroach on a residence during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, U.S., September 2, 2017.
  • Slide 28 of 37: Spectators watch as flames encroach on a residence during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, U.S., September 2, 2017.
  • Slide 29 of 37: The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, U.S. September 2, 2017.
  • Slide 30 of 37: A firefighting helicopter making a water drop on the La Tuna Canyon fire in Los Angeles, California on September 2, 2017. Hundreds of firefighters battle the 8,000-acre brush fire during a triple-digit heat wave in Southern California that caused mandatory evacuations and the closure of the 210 Freeway.
  • Slide 31 of 37: Rain drops fall around a firefighter during a brief rain event at the La Tuna Fire on September 2, 2017 near Burbank, California. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference that officials believe the fire, which is at 5,000 acres and growing, is the largest fire ever in L.A. People have been evacuated from hundreds of homes in Sun Valley, Burbank and Glendale. About 100 Los Angles firefighters are expected to return soon from Texas, where they've been helping survivors from Hurricane Harvey.
  • Slide 32 of 37: The La Tuna Canyon fire burns in the hills above Burbank, California, early September 2, 2017.  The brush fire which quickly burned 2,000 acres started on September 1 and was being driven by heat wave temperatures and high winds.
  • Slide 33 of 37: A crew with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) battles a brushfire on the hillside in Burbank, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.  Several hundred firefighters worked to contain a blaze that chewed through brush-covered mountains, prompting evacuation orders for homes in Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale.
  • Slide 34 of 37: The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, U.S. September 2, 2017.
  • Slide 35 of 37: The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, U.S. September 2, 2017.
  • Slide 36 of 37: The La Tuna fire burns above downtown Burbank, California, onSeptember 3, 2017.  More than 5,000 acres (2.023 hectares) have burned in the intense brush fire forcing people from their homes, shutting down an interstate and sending massive plumes of smoke in the air, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
  • Slide 37 of 37: A firefighter holds a hose on the 120 freeway during the La Tuna Fire on September 2, 2017 near Burbank, California. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference that officials believe the fire, which is at 5,000 acres and growing, is the largest fire ever in L.A. People have been evacuated from hundreds of homes in Sun Valley, Burbank and Glendale. About 100 Los Angles firefighters are expected to return soon from Texas, where they've been helping survivors from Hurricane Harvey.
>Full screen1/37 SLIDES © Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Photo

Craig Bolleson hugs his friend in his burned-out home, on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, in the Sunland-Tujunga section of Los Angeles. 

2/37 SLIDES © David McNew/Getty Images

Traffic on the 210 freeway is allowed to resume for the first time since the start of the La Tuna Fire, as light rain showers pass over the burn areas on Sept. 3, 2017, near Burbank, Calif. 

3/37 SLIDES © Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Photo
A fire engine drives past a burned area from a wildfire on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, in the Sunland-Tujunga section of Los Angeles. 
4/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
A fire helicopter flies over a charred hillside during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 3, 2017.
5/37 SLIDES © Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto/Getty Images
The moon rises over torched hills from the La Tuna fire on Sept. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles.
6/37 SLIDES © David McNew/Getty Images
An S-64E Sikorsky Skycrane firefighting helicopter flies past firefighters on a smokey ridge during the La Tuna Fire on September 3, 2017 near Burbank, California. 
7/37 SLIDES © Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
A couple survey the damage as they walk near a cross that remains standing amid the scorched hillside where three homes and a shed were destroyed in the the La Tuna Canyon fire in Los Angeles Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. 
8/37 SLIDES © David McNew/Getty Images
A firefighter hoses down a hot spot below him from a section of hillside covered with Phos-Chek fire retardant during the La Tuna Fire on September 3, 2017 near Burbank, California. 
9/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
Water is dropped behind houses in Sun Valley during the La Tuna Canyon fire in Los Angeles, California, September 3, 2017.
10/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
Firefighters evaluate hot spots near houses in Sun Valley during the La Tuna Canyon fire in Los Angeles, California, September 3, 2017.
11/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
Firefighters evaluate houses in a voluntary evacuation zone during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, September 3, 2017.
12/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
Water falls on firefighters as they evaluate a hillside during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, September 3, 2017.
13/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
Firefighters and spectators wait in Sun Valley during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, September 3, 2017.
14/37 SLIDES © Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
A home, cars and property lie in ruins. This was one of three homes and a shed that were destroyed in the the La Tuna Canyon fire along Crestline Drive in Los Angeles Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. 
15/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
Water is dropped in Sun Valley during the La Tuna Canyon fire in Los Angeles, California, September 3, 2017.
16/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
Fire trucks wait to depart into the hillsides during La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, California, September 3, 2017.
17/37 SLIDES © David McNew/Getty Images
A burned truck is seen at the La Tuna Fire on Sept. 3, 2017 near Burbank, California
18/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
The La Tuna Canyon fire has burned 5,895 acres and is still at 10% contained in Burbank, California on Sept. 3, 2017.
19/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
The La Tuna Canyon fire has burned 5,895 acres and is still at 10% contained in Burbank, California on Sept. 3, 2017. 
20/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
Firefighters evaluate houses in a voluntary evacuation zone during the La Tuna Canyon fire in Burbank, Calif. on Sept. 3, 2017.
21/37 SLIDES © Richard Vogel/AP Photo
Dry brush is seen in the Santa Monica mountains, foreground, as the la Tuna Fire burns in the hills of Los Angeles on Sept. 3, 2017.
22/37 SLIDES © David McNew/Getty Images
Flames spread on a moonlit night at the La Tuna Fire on Sept. 2, 2017 near Burbank, Calif.
23/37 SLIDES © Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
The La Tuna fire burns above downtown Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 3, 2017.
24/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 2, 2017.
25/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters

The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 2, 2017.

26/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters

The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 2, 2017.

27/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
Flames encroach on a residence during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 2, 2017.
28/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters
Spectators watch as flames encroach on a residence during the La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 2, 2017.
29/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters

The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 2, 2017.

30/37 SLIDES © NurPhoto/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter makes a water drop on the La Tuna Canyon fire in Los Angeles on Sept. 2, 2017. Hundreds of firefighters are battling the 8,000-acre brush fire during a triple-digit heat wave in Southern California that caused mandatory evacuations and the closure of the 210 Freeway.
31/37 SLIDES © David McNew/Getty Images
Rain drops fall around a firefighter during a brief rain at the La Tuna Fire on Sept. 2, 2017 near Burbank, Calif. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference that officials believe the fire, which is at 5,000 acres and growing, is the largest fire ever in L.A.
32/37 SLIDES © Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
The La Tuna Canyon fire burns in the hills above Burbank, Calif., early on Sept. 2, 2017. The brush fire, which quickly burned 2,000 acres, started on Sept. 1 and was being driven by a heat wave and high winds.
33/37 SLIDES © Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Photo
A crew with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) battles a brushfire on the hillside in Burbank, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.
34/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters

The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 2, 2017.

35/37 SLIDES © Kyle Grillot/Reuters

The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 2, 2017.

36/37 SLIDES © Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
The La Tuna fire burns above downtown Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 3, 2017. More than 5,000 acres have burned in the intense brush fire, forcing people from their homes, shutting down an interstate and sending massive plumes of smoke in the air, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
37/37 SLIDES © David McNew/Getty Images
A firefighter holds a hose on the 120 Freeway during the La Tuna Fire on Sept. 2, 2017 near Burbank, Calf.
37/37 SLIDES The high at Los Angeles International Airport reached 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius) Sunday, topping the previous mark of 92 (33 Celsius), set in 1982. Records were also set in parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, where the temperature hit 101 degrees (38 Celsius).

San Francisco residents, meanwhile, stifled under a third day of a rare heat wave in the coastal city, although highs in the San Francisco Bay Area fell Sunday from records in the 100s set the previous two days.

"I went to Home Depot, Walgreens, Office Depot, Target. They were sold out!" downtown office worker Alganesh Ucbayonas said Sunday, detailing her unsuccessful search for an electric fan. "CVS!" she remembered.

On Sunday, Ucbayonas sat at her desk in a building lobby squarely between two fans, both scrounged from her office building's storage and trained straight at her face.

Fires burning up and down the Sierra Nevada and further to the northwest cast an eerie yellow and gray haze over much of California, and much of the state was under alerts because of poor air quality.

California authorities ordered evacuation for a third small town Sunday in one of the wildfires, a blaze that has burned 9-square-miles (23 square kilometers) near Yosemite National Park.

Firefighters battling that blaze were making it a priority to safeguard the ancient grove of giant sequoia and a pair of historic cabins at the foot of the trees, fire spokeswoman Anne Grandy said. Fire crews had wrapped the two 19th-century cabins and an outhouse in shiny, fire-resistant material to protect them from the flames that had entered the Nelder Grove, Grandy said.

The flames were consuming old brush and dead wood on the forest floor, but had not burned the giant sequoia, some of which top 20 stories in height, she said. The millennia-old trees already had "survived thousands of fires," she said.

California crews are also protecting homes from a fast-moving wildfire that forced evacuations in Riverside County.

In the Pacific Northwest, high temperatures and a lack of rain this summer have dried out vegetation that fed on winter snow and springtime rain. Officials warned of wildfire danger as hot, dry, smoky days were forecast across Oregon and Washington over the holiday weekend. In Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed a state of emergency across all counties as three major fires closed recreation areas and prompted evacuations.

Flames in Montana's Glacier National Park prompted officials to evacuate all residents, campers and tourists from one of the most popular areas of the park. The order Sunday affects the Lake McDonald area, the western side of the dizzying Going-to-the Sun Road and some of the most visited trails in the area. The Lake McDonald Lodge, built in 1913, closed last week due to heavy smoke in the area.

Forecasters said more heat could be expected when remnants of Tropical Storm Lidia move north from Mexico's Baja California during the weekend.

___

Follow Christopher Weber at http://twitter.com/webercm . Knickmeyer reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writers Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles, Matt Volz in Helena, Montana, and Martha Bellisle in Seattle contributed to this report.


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