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Wildfires in 9 States May Set Acreage Record

August 20, 1996| From Associated Press

Dozens of wildfires burning across nine Western states Monday pushed the acreage blackened this summer to possible record highs, and weary firefighters looked forward to Army and National Guard reinforcements.

"This is the most we've burned this early in the West," said Renee Snyder, a spokeswoman for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. "There are so many fires going on at one time that the resources are being stretched."

The most serious of the blazes dotting Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington was near Clear Lake, 100 miles north of San Francisco.

That week-old, human-caused blaze had consumed 70,000 acres by Monday. About 1,000 people in five communities were evacuated.

Near Yosemite, nearly 25,500 acres of forest land burned, threatening one mountain community and tree plantations.

In Eastern Oregon, a helicopter fighting flames in the Umatilla National Forest crashed while dropping water Monday. The pilot was not hurt.

In Colorado, a fire in Mesa Verde National Park forced the evacuation of tourists from the Anasazi cliff dwellings.

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