Hundreds Evacuate as Thousands of Acres Burn Across Western States

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Hundreds of firefighters are scrambling to contain several wildfires that have broken out across three Southwestern states caused by hot and dry weather.

Blazes in California, Arizona and New Mexico threatened communities with thousands of residents where so far hundreds of homes have been evacuated.

California


A fast-moving brush fire that broke out in Santa Barbara County has grown to 1,400 acres Thursday evening, threatening structures and prompting hundreds to evacuate, fire officials said.

Dubbed the Sherpa Fire, the blaze quickly spread with the help of strong winds in the area. About 800 firefighters, who are dealing with a steep and rugged terrain, have not contained any portion of the fire as of Thursday evening.

About 140 homes and ranches were potentially at risk.

So far no injuries have been reported.

New Mexico

More than a dozen homes have been damaged or destroyed in the Manzano Mountains of central New Mexico, where firefighters struggle to make progress against a blaze that erupted across 25 square miles, burning 16,000 acres and forcing residents of several small communities to flee.

The New Mexico National Guard has been activated to help fight the blaze, also known as the Dog Head Fire, which still remains uncontained, Gov. Susana Martinez announced Thursday.

The fire became so large that a thick haze could be seen on social media covering the state's largest city of Albuquerque.

Communities from several counties were placed under a mandatory evacuation order as the flames raced northeast.

No injuries have been reported.

Arizona

More than 5,500 acres burned in east-central Arizona, a small community in Cedar Creek area was evacuated and thousands more were told to prepare to leave after the wildfires ravaged more than 12 square miles.

The fire broke out Wednesday 12 miles south of Show Low. However, officials said crews made good progress as they were holding down the containment lines Thursday.

No injuries have been reported.

The Show Low community remains pre-evacuated, not mandatory, according to the Navajo County Sheriff's office.

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