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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 01:47 GMT 02:47 UK
California wildfire in new surge
Wildfire rages in South Lake Tahoe, California (26 June)
Tallac Village near South Lake Tahoe has been evacuated
Firefighters trying to contain a raging wildfire in California have suffered a setback, after the blaze jumped a defence line forcing hundreds to flee.

The authorities have warned that strong winds forecast for the Lake Tahoe area on Wednesday could fan the flames.

Earlier, the US Forest Service said the fire, which has burned 2,730 acres since Sunday, was 40% contained and would be under control by the weekend.

The wildfire has so far destroyed 200 homes and forced 1,000 people to leave.

California has declared a state of emergency and may seek federal help.

Investigators have said they think the fire started in an area popular with runners and youths in the resort area along the California-Nevada state line.

However, forest service officials said there were no indications that the blaze was started intentionally.

Dry winter

Firefighters were working to protect Tallac Village near South Lake Tahoe when the blaze penetrated a fire line, prompting the evacuation of the area.

Earlier on Tuesday the wildfire continued to burn along the uninhabited slopes to the north and west of Lake Tahoe but crews were able to take advantage of low winds and high humidity.

Some 145 fire engines, 54 crews and 11 helicopters are being used to fight the blaze. One minor casualty has been reported.

Before the fire started, officials had warned of a more serious wildfire season than average due to an unusually dry winter.

Meanwhile, damp, cooler weather has also helped contain a wildfire on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.

The blaze in the popular recreation area south of Anchorage has spread across 90 square miles (233sq km) and destroyed more than 80 homes.

Firefighters tackle the blaze

Eye in the sky for wildfire risks
21 Dec 06 |  Science/Nature

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