PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) – Firefighters struggled Tuesday to contain wildfires that have burned more than 10,500 acres of Southern California brush and forest land.

A blaze on the edge of the San Bernardino National Forest burned more than 5,000 acres west of Palm Springs. It was 25 percent contained but still threatened the mountain communities of Idyllwild, Pine Cove and Garner Valley, officials said.

A second fire in Riverside County erupted Tuesday, forcing evacuations in the Bundy Canyon area and burning more than 300 acres. Firefighters also struggled with the weather – temperatures in the region reached 100 degrees.

No homes were destroyed, and the cause of the fires remained under investigation, authorities said.

In eastern San Diego County, a wildfire burned at least 1,500 acres of brushy terrain and prompted the voluntary evacuation of Ranchita, a tiny rural settlement.

An undetermined number of Boy Scouts and their supervisors were advised to remain at a Scout camp south of the fire, but the youths were not in immediate danger because the flames were burning away from them, officials said.

In northern Los Angeles County, a 4,128-acre fire in the Lake Hughes area of the Angeles National Forest was 30 percent contained. The fire had prompted the evacuation of 10 homes shortly after midnight Monday.

In Alaska, erratic, gusty winds whipped up several large wildfires, raising concerns for 1,585 firefighters battling 71 wildfires throughout the state.

“Firefighter safety is our primary concern,” said Frances Reynolds, a fire information officer at the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center near Fairbanks.

Hot, dry weather was expected to continue for at least several days. “It is going to be a long week,” Reynolds said.

The fire near the village of Bettles, about 185 miles northwest of Fairbanks, grew to 17,561 acres on Monday. Winds blowing from the southwest kept the fire from spreading any closer to the village and its 60 residents. The flames stayed about a mile from the community.

Planes dropped fire retardant on another fire northeast of Fairbanks that at one point crept onto a resort property.

AP-ES-07-13-04 2309EDT



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