More than forty wildfires are raging across the western U.S., fueled by high temperatures and dry conditions.
The National Weather Service early on Monday issued red flag warnings, signaling critical conditions over the next 24 hours, for regions in at least six states. In some areas, firefighters have been battling fires for a week, trying to keep them from spreading across roads and churning through dry vegetation near populated areas.
The states most impacted are:
Additionally, wildfires have also been reported in New Mexico and Idaho. In the Golden State, conditions are so bad that the Mercury News asked: Is California on Fire?
As of July 9, Cal Fire crews had battled 2,900 fires burning more than 106 square miles. That’s more than twice as much area burned as the average this time of year, which is about 2,500 fires covering 42 square miles.
“We’re well above the average number,” said Cal Fire spokeswoman Heather Williams, who said the amount of burned area skyrocketed in the past week when “we went up drastically. We saw 488 new fires just last week, while statewide, with all departments reporting, we had 633 new fires. So you see how quickly things can change.”
The Whittier Fire, just five percent contained by late Sunday, is threatening the college-crashpad community of western Goleta, just west of UC Santa Barbara. Firefighters over the weekend were able to quickly stamp out a blaze in Morro Bay that had reportedly been set off by two sky lanterns, or floating candles. And some 5,400 structures are now in the path of the Wall Fire in and around Oroville, a beleaguered town already threatened by, yup, that big ol’ leaky dam.
An ABC News report offers additional details:
The Whittier Fire destroyed a Boy Scouts camp, killing all of the animals in its nature center.
“While this fire is utterly devastating, those that hold true to the magic and wonder that this place has instilled in our youth will continue to inspire for years to come,” the Outdoor School said in a statement.
Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, as has Arizona Governor Gov. Doug Ducey. Though the state is now getting some monsoonal relief from its record-setting temperatures of last week, several blazes are still threatening the public.
- Brooklyn Complex fire: The wildfire burning in the Tonto National Forest and the Agua Fria National Monument has been upgraded to a complex fire, incorporating two lightning-caused fires in the area. Together they have burned 35,883 acres since first reported Friday afternoon. As of Sunday morning, the Bureau of Land Management said it was five percent contained. The fire has closed Badger Springs Road and Bloody Basin Road from Interstate 17 east to Forest Road 24. No evacuations have been put in place.
- Roach Fire: The fire in Pinal County had destroyed five homes and nine other structures by Sunday evening. The fire started Friday night and, whipped by thunderstorms and gusts of hot, dry winds, had consumed an estimated 1,200 acres by Saturday. By Sunday, the blaze was 60 percent contained and the families evacuated from Dudleyville were allowed to go home.
One fire in Nevada, close to the California border, shut down Interstate 80 on Monday night.
The Farad Fire has burned about 500 acres in Sierra County, about 12 miles northeast of Truckee. It is only 5 percent contained.
Officials say the fire is pushing east and back toward the highway.
I-80 at Gold Ranch has been shut down until conditions improve. There was no estimated time for reopening.
I-80 remains closed in both directions from the Nevada State line to Hirschdale.
Posted by CHP – Truckee on Monday, July 10, 2017
Nevada crews have had better luck withe other blazes:
The Great Basin Regional Incident Management Team on Monday said a wildfire that burned about 155 square miles (400 square kilometers) of land just north of Wadsworth is fully contained.
Officials say they expect crews on Monday to also complete control lines around a 65-square-mile (168-square-kilometers) fire northeast of Sparks and a blaze near Palomino Valley that grew to at least 7.5 square miles (19 square kilometers).
Prayers for the safety of the firefighters, as well as more monsoonal moisture.DONATE
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