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NATION : Blazes Raging in Parks, Timberland

<i> From Times wire service</i> s

Hundreds of fire crews battled today to arrest the advance of flames that have consumed thousands of acres in national parks and timberland in the West.

The largest of the blazes, sparked by lightning, blackened 7,000 acres about 20 miles west of Grand Junction, Colo. About 70 firefighters were evacuated Tuesday night as the wind-fed wildfire “exploded” from 1,200 acres, said Mary Plumb, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management in Utah.

Other Colorado fires were burning in the Box Canyon area near Dinosaur National Monument, where more than 1,800 acres were lost.

In New Mexico, firefighters battled a 5,000-acre lightning-caused blaze in the Gila National Forest. Smoke and ash from the fire was choking the aquatic environment of the endangered Gila trout.

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In Utah, more than 400 firefighters were struggling against a 2,500-acre fire in Unita Canyon, about 20 miles north of Roosevelt.


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