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The Latest: Hickenlooper promises probe into tracer bullets

July 6, 2018

HORNBROOK, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires in the Western United States (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says there will be a full investigation into how people firing tracer rounds allegedly started a wildfire that has destroyed three homes.

Speaking in El Jebel near the fire Friday, Hickenlooper said ammunition that illuminates the path of fired bullets shouldn’t have been used when fire restrictions are in place because of extremely dry conditions. They are permanently banned on state ranges.

The Vail Daily reports that people firing at other public shooting ranges caused two wildfires in June. One involved a banned flammable target. In the other, someone reportedly shot beyond the target area into dry sagebrush.

State ranges in the region and some others around Colorado have closed because of the fire danger.

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1:35 p.m.

A fast-moving wildfire is burning a handful of homes in San Diego County.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says Friday afternoon that the fire in Alpine is about 150 acres (0.23 sq. miles) and had no containment.

Video from news helicopters showed fire crews running along Interstate 8 and trying to quell the flames that were spreading along the side of the freeway.

South of the freeway, a handful of homes were completely engulfed in flames.

San Diego Gas and Electric says nearly 1,700 customers are without power after the fire damaged the electric system.

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1 p.m.

One of Colorado’s most popular national parks has banned all campfires to avoid starting any new wildfires.

Under the ban that took effect Friday, campfires are not permitted anywhere in Rocky Mountain National Park. Petroleum-fueled stoves and grills with on and off switches are still permitted in the park, which was visited by 4.4 million people last year.

The park says the decision was based on the extreme fire danger, the extended weather forecast and the current level of fire activity in the state.

The last time campfires were banned there was in June 2012, another very dry period.

Varying degrees of fire restrictions are in place on many other federal lands in Colorado. Fire bans have also been enacted by many counties.

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12 p.m.

A local California official says a deadly blaze burning near the Oregon border moved swiftly through the rural area that is home to many retirees.

Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors chair Ray Haupt says the blaze moved so fast it quickly reached Hornbrook, a community of about 250 people about 14 miles (22 kilometers) south of the Oregon border.

Authorities said one person was killed in the fire. But they gave no other details.

Haupt said Friday the fire is burning through grassland, oak and smaller brush and that it has destroyed several homes and killed livestock and horses.

He said many of the people he has talked to were either traveling or away for work when the blaze started Thursday and have not been able to find out the status of their homes.

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11 a.m.

Authorities in Oregon are urging hikers and other outdoors enthusiasts to avoid forested areas near the Oregon-California border, where a blaze has killed one person.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said Friday that although the blaze has not crossed into Oregon, officials are concerned people in remote areas could be unreachable in case they need to quickly evacuate.

It says the areas of concern include the Pacific Crest Trail, Mount Ashland and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

The office says search and rescue crews may be prohibited from engaging in search missions because of fire danger.

It says detour routes for the area have not been established.

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10:25 a.m.

A fire official says a person has died in a fast-moving blaze near the California-Oregon border.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Suzi Brady said Friday the person died in the blaze that started Thursday but that she couldn’t release any other details because next of kin have not been notified.

She says the blaze is threatening 300 homes near Hornbook, California, a town of 250 people about 14 miles (22 kilometers) south of the Oregon border.

The fire in Siskyou County has burned more than 12 square miles (30 square kilometers). It is 5 percent contained.

Brady says the fire is being fueled by hot weather and extreme winds.

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, citing “extreme peril” to people and property.

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