Wildfire in Washington State Forces Evacuations

Tourists and cabin owners were ordered to evacuate Saturday from the perimeter of a wildfire in southeast Washington state.

Many of the evacuated tourists had gathered to take pictures of a DC-10 airplane that could carry as much as 12,000 gallons of fire retardant on one run — eight times as much as anything else.

"There are a lot of tourists out there," fire spokesman Virgil Mink said. "People like to see what we do."

By nightfall, the fire had charred nearly 110 square miles, fire spokesman Charlie Armiger said. It was about 10 percent contained, Mink said.

In Idaho, a wildfire in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area kept campgrounds, roads and recreation sites in parts of central Idaho closed another day.

The fire charred more than 6 square miles and threatened about 70 homes, although no evacuations had been ordered, fire officials said.

"Some of the moisture we've had — light, misty rain — has minimized the fire activity and allowed crews to get in and work directly on the fire line," said Lynn Barclay, spokeswoman with the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team.

An Oregon range fire that has blackened about 183 square miles continued to threaten small communities in Oregon's remote southeast corner.

The lightning-sparked fire, which was 55 percent contained, was considered a threat to the tiny communities of Frenchglen, Fields, Alvord Hot Springs and Andrews as well as several camping areas, the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center said. Evacuation orders have been canceled.

In California, a small brush fire threatened six homes Saturday near a reservoir in the Santa Monica Mountains, before winds shifted and pushed the blaze to a less populated area, authorities said.

The 60-acre fire was later contained and no homes were damaged, said fire department spokesman Brian Humphrey. The cause was under investigation.

Meanwhile, firefighters in northeast Nevada gained the upper hand in two major wildfires. A brush fire that burned nearly 21 square miles north of Elko and threatened 300 homes after it broke out Wednesday afternoon was 85 percent contained, fire information officer Mark Struble said.

Another fire that scorched nearly 35 square miles was 95 percent contained, Struble said.

Wildfires blackened more than 78 square miles of rangeland in Elko County last week.