Wildfires across US West force thousands to flee their homes

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LOS ANGELES — Wildfires forced thousands to flee their homes across the U.S. West during a sweltering, smoke-shrouded holiday weekend of record heat.

The fires Sunday caused evacuations in Glacier National Park in Montana and many other parts of the West; compelled crews to rescue about 140 hikers who had spent the night in the woods after fire broke out along the popular Columbia River Gorge Trail in Oregon; and led firefighters to step up efforts to protect a 2,700-year-old grove of giant sequoia encroached by flames near Yosemite National Park in California.

A sudden gusty series of rainstorms allowed Los Angeles, however, to cancel evacuation orders for a wildfire that the mayor called the largest in the city’s history and sent beach umbrellas and toy shovels bouncing down Southern California beaches late Sunday.

Winds are pushing wildfires burning around two crown jewels of the National Park Service toward the doorstep of a century-old lodge and into an ancient grove of sequoias.

The fires in Montana’s Glacier National Park and outside of California’s Yosemite National Park are not only disrupting Labor Day travel plans, they are threatening the areas’ natural and manmade icons.

A 14-square-mile (36 square kilometer) fire that consumed a historic Glacier backcountry chalet last week is moving toward Lake McDonald Lodge, a focal point for park visitors.

Rangers have evacuated tourists, laid hoses and sprinklers around the hotel and are standing guard as the wind drives the blaze down the mountainside toward the lake’s shores.

Outside Yosemite, it’s not clear whether a 15-square-mile (39-square-kilometer) fire has damaged any of the 2,700-year-old trees in the Nelder Grove.

Winds are pushing wildfires burning around two crown jewels of the National Park Service toward the doorstep of a century-old lodge and into an ancient grove of sequoias.

The fires in Montana’s Glacier National Park and outside of California’s Yosemite National Park are not only disrupting Labor Day travel plans, they are threatening the areas’ natural and manmade icons.

A 14-square-mile (36 square kilometer) fire that consumed a historic Glacier backcountry chalet last week is moving toward Lake McDonald Lodge, a focal point for park visitors.

Rangers have evacuated tourists, laid hoses and sprinklers around the hotel and are standing guard as the wind drives the blaze down the mountainside toward the lake’s shores.

Outside Yosemite, it’s not clear whether a 15-square-mile (39-square-kilometer) fire has damaged any of the 2,700-year-old trees in the Nelder Grove.

Officials say winds from a thunderstorm pushed a blaze near Yosemite National Park farther into a grove of 2,700-year-old giant sequoias.

Fire information officer Anne Grandy said Monday that crews don’t know yet whether the 15-square-mile (39 kilometer) fire has damaged any trees in Nelder Grove outside the park. She says giant sequoias are resilient and can withstand low intensity fires.

A thunderstorm over the blaze on Sunday pushed it out about a mile (1.6 kilometers) in a span of two hours. The fire is partially contained and has forced the evacuation of a small town.

The Nelder Grove holds more than 100 giant sequoias, including one of the world’s largest, the 24-story-high Bull Buck sequoia