Air tankers at Medford fighting the Klamathon Fire

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Due to the blaze, the Interstate Five was closed in both directions between Ashland and Yreka, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced.

Thousands were told to evacuate as the fire edged into residential areas, and by late on Friday night it was about 1.6 kilometres from the downtown area, county fire Captain Dave Zaniboni told USA media.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said that evacuation shelters are operating from Jackson Street School in Yreka and Ashland High School for residents who have been told to leave their homes.

CAL FIRE reported at 6 a.m. MDT Friday that the Klamathon Fire along Interstate 5 just south of the OR border is now 8,000 acres with "multiple structures threatened and damaged OR destroyed".

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Klamathon Fire, Friday night. The blaze, dubbed the Holiday Fire, quickly spread and within 45 minutes threatened homes in the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Fairview Avenue, near Cathedral Oaks.

About an hour after the fire was reported, authorities said at least 20 structures were destroyed.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County, citing "extreme peril" to people and property. It is 37 percent contained, and evacuation orders are in place.

Neither fire officials nor the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department identified the victim or their cause of death.

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The fire is now 8,000 acres and 5% contained, according to CAL FIRE.

Firefighters battling wildfires that have torched hundreds of homes throughout the U.S. West hoped for some help from the weather Saturday even as new fires swept sweltering Southern California.

There were at least three fires burning at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base on Friday, which prompted officials to evacuate 750 homes and military housing in the surrounding area, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

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