Latest: Expected storm suspends recovery work by Oregon fire
The Latest on wildfires in the U.S. West (all times local):
SALEM, Ore. — Oregon officials are temporarily suspending recovery work in the area of one of the state’s biggest fires east of Eugene due to expected heavy rain and possible thunderstorms Thursday night into Friday.
The Oregon Department of Forestry says the forecast calls for possible lightning strikes and hail as well as rain and fire-damaged trees and rocks could fall into the road.
Officials are urging residents who have not already evacuated to do so now or remain inside their homes during the storm.
The National Weather Service already issued a flash flood warning for large parts of Oregon for the next 24 hours.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — Yosemite National Park is closing to all visitors due to significant smoke impacts from California’s wildfires.
The park issued a notice that all entrances and roads will close at 5 p.m. Thursday and will reopen when conditions are safe.
The park says there is hazardous air quality throughout Yosemite.
Sequoia National Park closed earlier this week due to a growing wildfire in the adjacent Sequoia National Forest. Kings Canyon National Park remains open but air quality is also described as poor.
JUNIPER HILLS, Calif. — New evacuations have been ordered on one side of a wildfire in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles.
Angeles National Forest officials say the Bobcat Fire is 1 mile (1.61 kilometers) from the community of Juniper Hills in foothills on the north flank of the mountain range.
Nearby Devils Punchbowl county park has also been ordered evacuated.
The fire started Sept. 6 on the south flank of the San Gabriel Mountains and has burned across much of the range. Officials say the fire is active in other areas including around Mount Wilson, site of a historic observatory and numerous broadcast antennas.
PORTLAND, Ore. — The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch Thursday for areas in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, including parts of counties that were just devastated by major wildfires.
Clackamas County, south of Portland, and Jackson County in the southern part of the state, were among those listed as at-risk for floods from heavy rain and thunderstorms headed to the state. Both counties have significant burned areas from the fires.
Areas that have recently burned are at a higher-than-usual risk for flash flooding and mudslides because the trees and vegetation that normally absorb the water and hold the soil in place are gone.
Heavy rain can trigger landslides, rock fall, and debris flows in steep terrain.
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — California’s Sequoia National Park has been fully closed due to a nearby wildfire in the Sierra Nevada wilderness.
A statement on the park website says the action implemented earlier this week came after the park headquarters and the community of Three Rivers at the park’s southern entrance were put on evacuation notice.
Sequoia National Park is threatened by the Castle Fire, part of the SQF Complex of fires ignited by lightning in the Sierra National Forest.
Burning since Aug. 19, the complex has scorched nearly 192 square miles and is just 12% contained Thursday.
Kings Canyon National Park, immediately to the north of Sequoia, remains open.