Wildfires are chewing through parched parts of the West, where temperatures are rising Thursday. Here's a look at the latest hotspots and what crews are doing to control them.



Two wildfires are burning outside Anchorage, one that tripled in size and forced the evacuation of campsites on the Kenai Peninsula and another in the heart of Alaska's dog mushing community that firefighters have kept from growing.

A blaze in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge ballooned to about 14 square miles as temperatures warmed in low humidity. Eight structures — anything from a home to a chicken coop — have been destroyed in the fire that started Monday.

More than 250 firefighters battled the blaze between the Sterling Highway and the Kenai River, Alaska's most popular sport-fishing venue. Up to 500 more personnel are expected from the Lower 48 states.

More than 420 firefighters have kept another wildfire to about 12 square miles, this one in Willow, where the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race normally begins every year. Plans were underway Thursday for some residents to return to part of the community about 40 miles north of Anchorage.

Fifty structures have been lost, including some homes, since the blaze started Sunday.



A smoky brush fire near a rural Arizona community was contained mainly to a dry riverbed, allowing most of the hundreds of evacuated residents to return home.

The flames have burned at least two residences near Kearny, about 85 miles southeast of Phoenix, and torn through about 400 acres of salt cedar trees since Wednesday morning.

A handful of people who live close to a riverbed must stay away because of their homes' proximity to the fire, Arizona State Forestry spokesman Mike Reichling said. Some firefighters who faced triple-digit temperatures suffered heat-related problems, but there were no serious injuries, he said.

About 200 firefighters have kept the fire burning away from the town of 2,000 residents, officials said.

State Sen. Barbara McGuire said the fire looked "like a war zone."



Firefighters battled two blazes in Southern California, one that was growing as it churned through 30-foot pine trees in the remote San Bernardino Mountains and another that was slowing in northern San Diego County.

The forest fire sent up a massive plume of smoke after forcing the evacuation of several rural campgrounds some 90 miles east of Los Angeles. Firefighters faced temperatures rising into the 90s in many areas of Southern California.

"Luckily, there are not a lot of residents up there," U.S. Forest Service spokesman Lee Beyer said, but a number of agency cabins and organizational camps are in the path of the more than 2-square-mile blaze.

No structures have been damaged. Nearly 200 campers were evacuated after the fire was reported Wednesday.

Further south, crews slowed the spread of a wildfire near a casino on the Barona Indian Reservation, state fire spokesman Kendal Bortisser said. It's burned about 150 acres of dry brush since Wednesday.

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