Firefighter Killed as Wildfires Tear Through West

59 large fires burning in 10 states
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2012 1:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – Wildfires are continuing to blaze across the parched, baking western United States. A 20-year-old firefighter was killed as she battled one of a dozen blazes burning in Idaho, reports the AP. Anne Veseth, who was struck by a falling tree while she was trying to contain a blaze in steep terrain, is the first Forest Service employee to die fighting a wildfire since 2009. Another firefighter suffered burns while battling the Holloway fire, which has burned 653 square miles of rugged terrain straddling the Oregon-Nevada border.

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Fire lines in Oregon are approaching the area scorched by July's Long Draw Fire, the state's biggest wildfire in more than a century. There are currently 59 large fires burning in 10 western states, including a pair of wildfires in northern California which have forced the evacuation of nearly 500 homes. "We haven't had rain in months, so the grass and the brush were incredibly dry. We had triple-digit temperatures, which create the perfect burning conditions for a wildfire," a local fire official tells Reuters. (Read more wildfires stories.)

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