By Christina B. Farnsworth. Since mid-June, 22 major fires burned in seven Western states consuming nearly 800 square miles--and the fire season had just begun. The largest Colorado blaze in history, allegedly sparked by a Park Service employee, charred more than 100,000 acres destroying homes, cars, and bridges. Only half-contained, it threatened as many as 40,000 Denver homeowners.

In Arizona, more than 351,000 acres have burned, destroying at least 375 homes, and parts of the state have been declared federal disaster areas. Seven California fires raged, some near Los Angeles, Ojai, and Sacramento. Fires northeast of Taos, N.M., threatened historic towns and gas wells.

Fire Safe

The Insurance Information Network of California recommends the following:

  • Clear flammable vegetation and materials for at least 30 feet around home;
  • Grow fire resistant native and landscape plants;
  • Space trees and shrubs at least 10 feet apart;
  • Keep roofs and gutters clean.
  • See for more.