Wildfire Raging North Of San Francisco Threatens Homes

LOWER LAKE, Calif. (AP) -
Firefighters spray a hose at a fire along Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif., Friday. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Firefighters spray a hose at a fire along Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif., Friday. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Wildfires blazing in several Western states Sunday chewed up forests and threatened homes but were most numerous in Northern California where dozens are raging and setting off evacuations.

Wildfires are also burning in Washington and Oregon.

The biggest California wildfire — raging in the Lower Lake area north of San Francisco — spread overnight to cover even more drought-stricken ground.

The fast-moving blaze had charred 71 square miles by Sunday, the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection said.

The fire has destroyed 24 homes and 26 outbuildings and was threatening 5,000 homes.

Many of the California blazes were sparked by lightning.

More than 8,000 firefighters are working to quell the blazes. One firefighter was killed late last week at the scene of a fire 100 miles south of the Oregon border.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for California and activated the California National Guard to help with disaster recovery.

The wildfire north of San Francisco has been raging in an area of hills covered in dense brush and oak trees since Wednesday. It is only 5 percent contained.

Cal Fire says an evacuation advisory has been issued affecting 12,000 people in a sweeping region of ranches and small rural communities. Several roads have been closed.