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Wildfires in Arizona, California, Utah force hundreds from their homes

In this Tuesday, June 27, 2017 frame from video, flames and smoke rise from a fire near Mayer, Ariz. The Arizona fire forced the evacuation of Mayer along with several other mountain communities in the area. (Jennifer Johnson via AP)

Wildfires in Arizona, California, Utah force hundreds from their homes

A wildfire burning Wednesday through a dense Arizona forest has forced hundreds of people from their homes, closed a major road and created a huge plume of smoke over the same area devastated by a blaze that killed 19 firefighters four years ago.

The fire near the small city of Prescott, fanned by 35 mph (56 kph) winds, has charred more than 28 square miles (73 square kilometers. More than 500 firefighters were battling the blaze.

Elsewhere across the western U.S., Utah firefighters braced Wednesday for more high winds as they try to slow a stubborn wildfire that has burned 13 homes and forced the evacuation of 1,500 people from a ski resort town.

And in California, a wildfire destroyed the home of “Big Bang Theory” star Johnny Galecki on a ranch in the San Luis Obispo area, said Nicole Perna, a spokeswoman for the 42-year-old actor.

The Arizona fire forced the evacuation of the town of Mayer along with several other mountain communities in the area, and one of the main roads into Prescott was closed. Mayer has about 1,400 residents.

Many residents have painful memories of a 2013 wildfire that killed 19 members of a Prescott-based hotshot crew almost exactly four years ago. (AP)

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