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Residents flee homes over US blaze

Strong winds in the Columbia River Gorge have allowed an Oregon wildfire to grow to nearly eight square miles, forcing the evacuation of several homes while other residents wait to hear if they will have to leave as well.

The fires are burning in hilly country near The Dalles, a Columbia River city that is a favourite site for windsurfers.

It is the latest wildfire to grab the attention of regional fire crews.

In Idaho, authorities are slowly allowing evacuees to return to homes that days ago were deemed at risk from a big and erratic wildfire burning near the affluent resort towns of Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley.

In California, a wildfire has forced hundreds of Butte County residents from homes some 60 miles north of Sacramento.

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