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Wildfires Sweep Across Western US

In this photo released by the U.S. Forest Service Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, firefighters stand watch near the perimeter of the Elk Complex fire near the small mountain community of Pine, Idaho.
About 50 major fires are burning across 11 western U.S. states, as firefighters scramble to battle flames threatening hundreds of businesses and homes. Authorities have evacuated thousands of people.

At least 14 fires have swallowed about 200,000 hectares in Idaho. The U.S. Forest Service estimates the second-largest fire to sweep the state could take another four days to fully contain, while firefighters extinguished the largest fire there on Monday.

The fires sprawl from the southern state of Arizona to the northern state of Washington, and even up to Alaska.

Officials say that more than 1.2 million hectares have burned across the country this year, compared to more than 2.4 million hectares at this time last year.