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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hundreds Fight Blaze That Tripled In Size

Compiled From Wire Services

Hundreds of firefighters from the Lower 48 states joined the battle Thursday against a 64-square-mile wildfire that tripled in size in a matter of hours and cast smoke over Anchorage 50 miles away.

Calmer winds and higher humidity raised firefighters’ hopes of putting out the fire burning in the Matanuska Valley.

It has been difficult to determine the extent of damage because of the smoke. Officials said anywhere between 150 and 500 homes burned down in an area roughly the size of Miami.

At least 800 firefighters were expected to arrive Thursday, and 200 more were due on today to join the 300 Alaskan volunteers who have been battling the fire for five days.

The visiting firefighters - most of them coming from Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Montana - were arriving on commercial flights. Some were already wearing their boots, helmets and other fire gear.

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