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Southern California Wildfire Burns 6,000 Hectares in 12 Hours

Firefighters Prepare as Blazes Rage in Western United States
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Video report from VOA's Mike O'Sullivan,

Authorities in the western U.S. state of California ordered the evacuation of more than 82,000 people after a rapidly spreading wildfire broke out Tuesday north of San Bernardino.

Fire officials do not know what caused the fire, but about 12 hours after it began they said it had already burned more than 6,000 hectares. The flames and smoke prompted road closures, including part of a highway that links the Los Angeles area and Las Vegas.

Some 700 personnel are working to contain the fire. Their job is being made more difficult by hot, windy, dry weather.

Wildfires are common in California and other western states during the warm summer months.

Also Tuesday, authorities in northern California lifted some evacuation orders as fire crews made progress against another fire that police say was started by an arsonist. They have arrested a 40-year-old man suspected of started multiple fires in the area during the past year.

The fire in Lower Lake, a community northwest of the state capital, Sacramento, has burned about 1,600 hectares and destroyed 175 homes and businesses.