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Western US is under threat of wildfires

New wildfire destroyed five homes in western US, but no injuries were reported.

The destroyed homes were on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River in this northwestern state, said U.S. Forest Service fire information officer Stan Hinatsu. Fifty to 60 other homes were threatened by the blaze that began Thursday morning, he said.

An unspecified number of people had to be evacuated and an evacuation center was set up at a local school, he said.

By early Friday, the fire covered 150 acres (60 hectares) by evening and was 75 percent contained, he said. The fire settled down overnight as winds subsided, fire officials said.

The Columbia River Gorge is renowned as a windsurfing location. Hinatsu said firefighters hoped to get control of the fire sometime Friday, but a lot depended on the wind, which was gusting up to 38 mph (61 kph). The fire's cause was being investigated, he said.

In Southern California, a wildfire that scorched more than 14,000 acres (5,665 hectares) in the San Bernardino National Forest was fully contained Thursday, the U.S. Forest Service said.