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Oregon Mobilizes More Guard Members as Fires Ravage West

The governor actovated 250 more Guard members to help fight wildfires, while in Washington a huge blaze grew by 100 square miles.
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Oregon’s governor on Saturday activated 250 National Guard members to help fight wildfires that have ravaged parts of the West.

"With up to a couple months of fire season still ahead of us, and many large fires currently underway, we will need to be ready to put more boots on the ground,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Saturday.

"Oregon National Guard citizen soldiers will be ready for activation to provide the reinforcements necessary to get the job done," she said. The governor activated another 125 National Guard troops earlier in the week.

There were at least 14 large wildfires and several smaller ones burning across Oregon, according to the U.S. Forest Service. One of the largest, the Canyon Creek Complex fire, has destroyed 36 homes near the community of John Day, in the western part of the state.

In Washington, there are at least 16 major fires across the state, the Forest Service said. President Barack Obama on Friday signed a state of emergency for the state, and officials took the unusual step of calling for volunteers to operate heavy equipment; 3,000 have so far offered to help, NBC station KING5 reported.

Three firefighters died while battling the Okanogan Complex fire this week. That fire, burning east of the tiny town of Twisp since Saturday, has grown by more than 100 square miles and now covers more than 300 square miles.

In California, more than 11,000 firefighters were battling 16 major fires across the state, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Saturday.

One of the larger fires, the so-called Jerusalem Fire in Napa and Lake counties north of San Francisco was 98 percent contained. It destroyed 6 homes, the department, also known as Cal Fire, said.