6 States Ablaze, 1.2M Acres Lost

OK, fire not being caused by illegal immigrants, admits John McCain
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2011 1:36 AM CDT
6 States Ablaze in Tinderbox US
Kelly Ransom, 14, consoles her grandmother, Sherry Ransom, at the fire information center yesterday in Sierra Vista, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Jill Torrance)

Six states are ablaze in a searing summer that's breaking records for wildfires. More than 1.2 million acres have already burned and some 10,000 people have been forced to flee their homes as flames devour land in Arizona, New Mexico, California, and Colorado, as well as Georgia and Texas. Some 3,500 firefighters have battled Arizona's Wallow fire that has consumed some 500,000 acres, and 700 smoke-eaters are wrestling the Monument fire near Sierra Vista in the state. "I feared for my husband, my animals and for the air quality," one fleeing Arizonan told ABC News. Also hardest hit is Texas, suffering its worst drought in history, where some 15,000 acres have burned in temperatures topping 100 degrees.

Helicopters are currently dumping water on a California blaze raging in an oil field in San Luis Obispo County. Soaring temperatures and super dry conditions will continue to make this summer one of the most dangerous. One issue not a risk factor for fires? Illegal immigrants. Arizona Sen. John McCain came under heat for blaming Mexican drug cartels and illegal immigrants for starting blazes, but now says he was misinformed by National Forest Service officials. (Read more Arizona stories.)

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