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Oregon Wildfire Leads To Evacuations

About 500 people who live near a central Oregon tourist town were ordered to evacuate as a wildfire threatened two neighborhoods, officials said.

Another 1,000 residents were given a pre-evacuation notice on Thursday, meaning they might have to flee at a moment's notice.

The 200 homes in the Crossroads and Edgington neighborhoods were threatened by a more than two-square-mile fire that was started Sunday by lightning, said David Seesholtz of the Incident Command Team. The timber fire was about six miles from the town of Sisters, popular with recreational tourists, and about three miles from the evacuated neighborhoods.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski ordered that all necessary state resources, including air tankers, be made available to fight the fire. Two Oregon National Guard helicopters were dispatched.

"Ensuring the safety and protection of Sisters residents and their property is my highest priority," he said.

Areas of California's vast Los Padres National Forest, where lightning has sparked at least two dozen wildfires in the past week, were closed Thursday. About 375 square miles of land that included at least six campgrounds, an off-road vehicle trail and deer hunting territory were ordered closed indefinitely.

In southwestern Utah, firefighters warned residents of more than 70 homes north of St. George to remove anything that could add fuel to wildfires burning a few miles away. A lightning-sparked fire has burned at least 7.8 square miles in hazardous terrain between St. George and Veyo, said Anne Stanworth, spokeswoman for the Color Country Fire Management Area.

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