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Sierra wildfire spurs evacuation of thousands of California homes

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Evacuation orders were expanded to thousands of homes in northern California’s Sierras on Friday as a rapidly spreading wildfire roared for a third day through drought-parched timber and brush, threatening mountain communities near Sacramento.

The so-called Butte Fire, which erupted on Wednesday about 30 miles southeast of the state capital near the former gold mining town Jackson, has grown quickly in the midst of a heat wave baking the region in triple-digit temperatures.

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By Friday, flames had devoured nearly 32,000 acres of rugged terrain, more than double the acreage left blackened the previous night, although a force of 1,500 firefighters had managed to carve containment lines around 10 percent of the blaze’s perimeter, fire officials said.

“This fire definitely has a dangerous rate of spread, and our goal right now is to protect structures,” said Mike Yeun, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Six homes and two outbuildings have been destroyed, and roughly 6,000 dwellings were listed as threatened, most of them placed under mandatory evacuation orders, Yeun said.

The evacuation encompassed several Sierra communities, including the hamlets of Glencoe, Wilseyville and Pine Grove. Residents of additional areas were warned to be ready to flee on short notice.

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The cause of the fire was under investigation.

The blaze is one of the latest in a flurry of large, destructive wildfires that have ravaged drought-stricken forests, grasslands and chaparral throughout the West this summer.

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As of Friday, firefighters were battling nearly three dozen large blazes and clusters of fires in California and five other Western states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

The largest active blaze in California, dubbed the Rough fire, was still burning six weeks after it was ignited by lightning in Kings Canyon National Park at the southern end of the Sierra range.

That fire has scorched more than 119,000 acres and forced evacuations of park staff and visitors from a large swath of Kings Canyon as it menaced the famed Grant Grove of giant Sequoia trees. The vicinity around Grant Grove was closed to the public on Friday, along with the park’s Cedar Grove area.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump supporter organizes rally against ‘all the hatred’ — of the president

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One of President Donald Trump's most fervent supporters is concerned about the rising hatred of a president who routinely launches racist attacks and inspires white nationalist violence.

The Republican president won Indiana County, Pennsylvania, by more than a 2-to-1 margin in 2016, and he continues to enjoy strong support in the rural county that's home to one of the nation’s largest coal-fired power plants, reported the Tribune-Review.

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Perv who snapped pics of woman in dressing room turns out to be high-ranking Mormon church official

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A man who was caught secretly taking photos of a woman in a Nashville, Tennessee shopping mall has been identified has a high-level member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Fox 17 reports.

Stephen Murdock was arrested on Tuesday after police say he took the photos at an H&M store in a mall at Opry Mills. According to the report, Murdock's wife begged the victim not to call the police after the incident.

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Trump’s frantic conspiracy mongering is a distraction from looming recession: columnist

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Economists have grown concerned that President Donald Trump's trade wars with China will trigger a recession.

Writing in the Washington Post, columnist Greg Sargent points out that Trump is scared about the economy -- so he's resorting to lies and spreading conspiracy theories as a distraction.

"As President Trump prepares to run for reelection on the claim that his populist nationalist agenda has been a smashing success, it’s awfully telling that Trump and his advisers have now launched a frantic, multi-front effort to deny glaring truths about that agenda that are all right there in plain sight, for all of us to see," Sargent writes.

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