Wildfires across US West force thousands to flee their homes

By  | 

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 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.