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Wildfire increases by 11,500 acres

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A massive fire in the Los Padres National Forest grew an additional 11,500 acres Sunday, making it one of the largest wildfires in modern California history, officials said.

Authorities closed a highway and encouraged residents of about two dozen rural Ventura County homes to evacuate while Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for Ventura County. The move clears the way for state government assistance with costs related to the fire.

The fire had burned 199,588 acres of wilderness, or 312 square miles. It was 75 percent contained, with more than 3,000 personnel working on it.

In Central Idaho, A fast-moving wildfire was burning less than two miles away from homes ranging from summer cottages to million-dollar houses, officials said Sunday.

Gov. Butch Otter ordered residents of about 100 homes to evacuate.

The fire had burned through 11 square miles of grasslands, sagebrush and forest about eight miles west of the resort area of Ketchum, fire spokesman David Olson said.

In Eastern Montana, at least one home was destroyed Sunday by a new wildfire that forced the evacuation of a 300-home subdivision east of Billings, authorities said. Officials did not know the size of the fire.


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Prominent Baptist leader removed as head of Texas seminary

new  A former head of the Southern Baptist Convention was removed Wednesday as president of a Texas seminary following allegations of “unbiblical teaching” through sexist and demeaning comments to women who he suggests should tolerate abuse.