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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 22:27 GMT 23:27 UK
Battle against US fires goes on
Firefighters at Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona
Fire crews say it will be some days before the fires are under control
Firefighters in the US are continuing to battle a series of wildfires raging across several western states.

Vast areas of forest in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and California have already been lost to fires.

One of the worst-hit regions is the area around the town of Sedona in Arizona where hundreds of homes and businesses have been evacuated.

Cooler temperatures eased conditions in Colorado, but fires continue to burn in large parts of New Mexico.

In Arizona, some 4,000 acres (1,600 hectares) of land was ablaze by Friday. Fire crews said they did not expect the fire to be contained for at least five days.

"This fire is like a caged-up coyote," said Mike Dondero, deputy incident commander. "It's trying to get out 24 hours a day."

Fire crews are still trying to bring fires under control in New Mexico, California and Colorado.
Roadblock near Sedona, Colorado

Some 33,250 acres (13,500 hectares) of forest have burned in New Mexico, where efforts have been hampered by heat, wind and hostile terrain.

In California, the summer wildfire season opened with fires near the town of Santa Maria.

Officials said nearly 15,000 acres (6,000 hectares) of chaparral, pine and grasslands in Los Padres National Forest had been affected.

Containment

Arizona's fires began on Sunday at a temporary campsite about 90 miles (145km) north of Phoenix.

They spread quickly, prompting evacuations throughout Slide Rock Park, a canyon area popular with tourists.

State officials have banned all fireworks and private open fires as they struggle to bring the blazes under control.

A containment area was established around the fires, with evacuations forcing residents from 300 homes.

In southern Colorado, some residents were able to return home on Friday and route US 160, closed since Monday, was opened again to vehicles, as crews had partially contained the fire.


SEE ALSO
Huge California wildfire 'tamed'
10 Feb 06 |  Americas
Five die in wildfires sweeping US
29 Dec 05 |  Americas
Spreading blaze nears LA suburbs
30 Sep 05 |  Americas

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