Wildfires spread across a parched West | Science News

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Wildfires spread across a parched West

12:31pm, April 14, 2003

Dozens of lightning-sparked wildfires seared the western United States last week, adding hundreds of thousands of acres of charred terrain to a tally that promises to make this fire season the worst in recent decades.

On Aug. 8, at least 66 major fires—which had already burned at least 100 acres each—were raging in 11 western states, say officials at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. The center, which coordinates wildland firefighting operations, is home to personnel from seven federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the National Weather Service.

In all, the 66 active fires covered more than 865,000 acres, says Mary Stansell,

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