U.S.

Associated Press
A firefighting helicopter flies into a smoke covered canyon to drop its load of retardant on the Ponderosa Fire near Paynes Creek, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012. The Ponderosa Fire, which has scorched about 38 square miles since Saturday, was 50 percent contained Wednesday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The threat to homes about 35 miles east of Redding has dropped from 3,500 earlier this week to roughly 200 residences. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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