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Dozens of Wildfires Scorch US West

  • VOA News

Smoke fills the sky in a view north toward Yellowstone National Park from Leeks Marina in Moose, Wyo., Aug. 23, 2016.

Smoke fills the sky in a view north toward Yellowstone National Park from Leeks Marina in Moose, Wyo., Aug. 23, 2016.

Hot, dry winds whipped through western U.S. states on Tuesday, stoking wildfires that have scorched tens of thousands of hectares of land and forced residents to flee homes in California and Washington state.

The National Interagency Fire Center reported 32 fires in Western states, including seven new outbreaks in the past 24 hours.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in 20 counties near the smoke-shrouded city of Spokane, as firefighter reinforcements arrived in the area.

In comments to reporters, he linked the latest outbreaks to climate change and diseased trees in the region's vast forests.

To the south, firefighters in California's San Luis Obispo County have contained about a third of the 15,000-hectare blaze threatening the historic Hearst Castle.

By midday Tuesday, authorities said the castle — the early 20th-century home of publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst — was no longer in danger, after a wind shift pushed the blaze away from the facility.

Separately, investigators in Southern California searched for the cause of a huge fire in San Bernardino County that burned for a week, destroying more than 100 homes and 200 buildings.

Authorities said the so-called Blue Cut fire was 100 percent contained Tuesday.

Elsewhere, smaller fires burned in two popular national parks in northwest Wyoming, closing a main road at the west entrance to Yellowstone Park and a 20-kilometer stretch of road in neighboring Grand Teton Park, where at least one campground was evacuated.

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