Source AP ©

Evacuations ordered near Michigan wildfire, state of emergency declared in Montana

Montana was under a state of emergency Monday as firefighters battled several huge blazes, and residents near a state park on Michigan's Upper Peninsula were ordered to evacuate as another wildfire spread there.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer declared the state of emergency Sunday as his state's largest wildfire blackened nearly 28 square miles (72.5 sq. kilometers) northeast of Missoula and forced residents to evacuate about 200 homes.

The weather was expected to favor the Montana firefighters on Monday. On Sunday, wind-blown embers had starting spot fires up to 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) ahead of the main blaze near the popular getaway spots of Seeley and Placid Lakes, authorities said.

About 50 homes ahead of a fire in the Flathead National Forest in northwestern Montana remained evacuated, and crews had to move their fire camp because the flames had come within 2 miles (3.22 kilometers). Residents of the Good Creek area to the north may also be evacuated if the fire continues to grow, officials said.

In northern Michigan, the wildfire was within about 10 miles (16.1 kilometers) of Tahquamenon Falls State Park and had spread across more than 12,000 acres (4,856 hectares), or nearly 19 square miles (49 sq. kilometers), the biggest in the area in nearly a decade, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.

No injuries had been reported and there were no reports of damage to buildings, but several structures in the Chesbrough Lake area were threatened and at least five families had left that area, the DNR said.

California crews battling an 88-square-mile (228-sq. kilometer) wildfire roughly 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles in Santa Barbara County got about 50 extra fire engines Sunday after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency. More than 2,300 people were fighting the blaze; the 50 engines added to about 100 already there.

The month-old wildfire was 70 percent contained Sunday but full containment is not expected until Sept. 7, officials said. Evacuation orders remained in effect for about 650 people in the hamlet of Paradise and a camp for delinquent boys.

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