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Wildfires Rage Across Parts of Western U.S.

Recent droughts and temperature spikes have sparked fires in California, Utah and other western states. An expert discusses the dangerous weather conditions.

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    A combustible mix of epic drought, searing heat, plus tinder-dry forests and grasslands has produced an early and raging fire season. Much of the western United States is affected.

    The latest fire burned a stretch of the Black Hills of South Dakota. The blaze raced out of a canyon yesterday near Hot Springs, killing one local homeowner. It quickly scorched 11 square miles. Cooler temperatures and a rare rainfall have helped quell the blaze today.

    The largest fire in Utah history rages across more than 460 square miles in the center of the state.

    SUSAN MARZEC, Bureau of Land Management: The fire is so intense and the smoke is so intense that we've not been able to fly our helicopters or our planes. And with the winds, it's made it even worse. It's really grown; it's really moved; it's become a dangerous fire.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Sixty miles of Interstate 15 in Utah, also a main north-south corridor through six western states, were closed Sunday because of fire. Kasey Hodges had hoped that I-15 would act as a firebreak of sorts, but the road provided no relief.

  • KASEY HODGES:

    Well, I figured, "You know what? This ain't worth it. We need to get out of here." Because it's hot. It felt like somebody was holding a blow dryer to the back of your head. So we just got in the car, and we got out of here as fast as we could.