GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) -- The nation's largest active wildfire has grown to 308,000 acres, coming within 3,000 acres of becoming the biggest fire in Oregon's history.
The blaze, in the Siskiyou National Forest and adjoining lands in southwestern Oregon and Northern California, was close to surpassing a 1933 wildfire in northwest Oregon.
The wildfire had at one point threatened about 17,000 people in several small towns in the Illinois Valley. The threat has eased, but the fire still threatened the community of Agness in the Rogue River Canyon and an area near the small coastal town of Brookings.
Sheriff's deputies Friday were asking some Brookings-area residents to prepare to leave their homes immediately if notified. The fire was 15 percent contained.
The National Fire Information Center reports 5 million acres have burned in the country this year, including more than 715,000 acres in Oregon. U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth said the fires have cost $325 million to fight.
Elsewhere, portions of Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado reopened to the public Friday, 10 days after a wildfire near its best-known archaeological attractions forced it to close.
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