ALTURAS, Calif. (AP) -- A fast-growing wildfire along the Oregon-California border spurred evacuation notices even as California's governor declared a state of emergency to help fight blazes raging in the state.<br />
Gov. Jerry Brown's order Saturday night came as fires in other West Coast states burned through parched forests, brush and terrain, destroying some homes, threatening many others and forcing evacuations.<br />
In California, dry lightning, high temperatures and severe drought conditions exacerbated the fire danger as more than a dozen significant wildfires flared, some of which also damaged or destroyed dwellings and prompted residents to flee.<br />
Brown's proclamation said that the circumstances and magnitude of the wildfires are beyond the control of any single local government and will require the combined forces of regions to combat.<br />
To that end, he secured a federal grant on Saturday to cover 75 percent of the cost to fight a wildfire that started in Oregon and crossed into California. The lightning-sparked Oregon Gulch fire destroyed at least 3 homes and was threatening about 270 structures on both sides of the border, authorities said.<br />
Authorities on both sides of the border responded as the Oregon Gulch fire expanded. Oregon's Klamath County Sheriff's office and the sheriff in Siskiyou County both issued evacuation notices for some homes in rural regions, though it wasn't immediately clear how many residences were affected.<br />
Elsewhere, two more fires were reported in Central Oregon, bringing the total to 30 fires reported in the past 24 hours, the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center said Saturday.<br />
Further north, a freshly sparked wildfire in Washington state burned down six to eight homes. Dramatic scenes played out overnight as residents tried to keep the flames at bay, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
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