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At least 10 wildfires rage on in four states

Work to prevent wildfires in drought-stricken California is more urgent than ever
Parched California experiences rash of wildfires 01:39

Wildfires have destroyed more than 45,000 acres in the West this week. At least ten major fires are burning in Arizona, California, Oregon and Alaska.

One of the biggest is in the San Bernardino Mountains, east of Los Angeles. Helicopters are attacking the 11,000-acre fire from above, as hundreds of firefighters battle it on the ground. About 400 campers and residents were ordered to evacuate the heavily-wooded area.

Further north in California, a wildfire in the Sierra National Forest south of Yosemite National Park has grown to over 500 acres. For now, the fire threatens few buildings but it destroyed Roy McCain's home.

"It's a loss. Everything I have is gone," McCain told CBS News.

Even in Alaska fire season has started with a vengeance. The 7,000-acre Sockeye Fire burned right across the Parks Highway, between Anchorage and Fairbanks.

With conditions so dry after four years of drought, work to prevent wildfires is particularly urgent this year. North of San Francisco, work crews have been busy where forest grows to the edge of densely-populated towns.

Watershed manager Carl Sanders told CBS News his primary concern is dead and dying trees, and overgrown brush, which he refers to as "fuel load."

In preparation for a worst-case fire season, California has added two additional large air tankers to its fleet and hired 300 extra firefighters.

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