Bry, Oregon (AP) — The largest wildfire in the United States burned a drier forest landscape in Oregon on Sunday. It was one of the dozens of major flames, and within a few days the weather was very dangerous.
Just north of the California border, the destructive Bootleg Fire has grown to more than 476 square miles (1,210 square kilometers), about the size of Los Angeles.
Irregular winds blew flames, creating a dangerous situation for firefighters, said John Flanigan, chief of operations for a unit of 2,000 fighting flames.
“The weather is really against us,” he said. “It will be dry and the air will be unstable.”
Authorities have expanded evacuation and now most of the lakes and wildlife sanctuaries are affecting about 2,000 inhabitants in rural areas. The flames, 22% contained, burned at least 67 homes and 100 annexes, threatening thousands more.
On the other side of the state, fires in the mountains of northeastern Oregon had spread to more than 17 square miles (44 square kilometers) by Sunday.
The Elbow Creek fire, which began on Thursday, prompted evacuation in several small remote communities around the Grande Ronde River, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Walla Walla, Washington. It contained 10%.
The natural features of the area act like a wind funnel, supplying flames and making them unpredictable, officials said.
In California, wildfires surged south of Lake Tahoe, jumping over highways, urging more evacuation orders, closing the Pacific Crest Trail, and canceling extreme cyclists through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The Tamarack fire, caused by lightning on July 4, burned about 29 square miles (74 square kilometers) of dry brushes and timber as of Sunday morning. The flames threatened Markleeville, a small town near the California-Nevada border. At least two structures have been destroyed, officials said.
A notice posted on the 103-mile (165-kilometer) Death Ride website on Saturday evacuated several communities in the area and ordered all bike riders to clean up the area. The fire caused thousands of bikers and spectators to get stuck in a small town and race to escape.
Kelly Pennington and her family were camping near the town on Friday, so her husband was able to take part in his ninth ride when they were told to leave. They watched smoke all day long, but were distracted by the rapid spread of the fire.
“It happened so fast,” Pennington said. “We left behind a tent, a hammock, and some food, but we got most of it and pushed our two kids into the car and left.”
Approximately 500 firefighters were fighting the flames on Sunday, “focusing on protecting lives and property through point protection of structures and, where possible, installing containment lines.” ..
Meteorologists have predicted very dangerous fire weather in both California and southern Oregon, where lightning can occur until at least Monday.
“The fuel is so dry that a thunderstorm could cause a new fire,” the National Weather Service in Sacramento, California said on Twitter.
Extremely dry conditions and climate change-related heat waves have hit the area, making it difficult to fight wildfires. Climate change will continue to make the west much warmer and drier, more extreme weather, and more frequent and destructive wildfires over the last three decades.
Firefighters said in July that they were facing typical situations in late summer and autumn.
The Dixie Fire in Northern California breathed new life on Sunday, urging new evacuation orders in rural areas near Feather River Canyon. A wildfire near the 2018 location of the most deadly US flame in recent memory was 15% contained and covered 39 square miles. The fire was northeast of the town of Paradise, California, and the survivors of the horrific fire, which killed 85 people, were watching the new flames burn.
Montana officials have identified firefighters who were severely burned when the flames overtook a crew member fighting a small flame there. After a sudden change in wind on Friday, Dan Stephensen was taken to a hospital in Salt Lake City and swallowed his fire truck near the Wyoming border. A second firefighter ran away without injury and asked for help.
According to the National Inter-Ministry Fire Center, there are about 70 large fires and multiple flame complexes in the United States, burning about 1,659 square miles (4,297 square kilometers). The US Forest Office said there were at least 16 major fires in the Pacific Northwest alone.
Huge Oregon blaze grows as wildfires burn across western US – Press Telegram Source link Huge Oregon blaze grows as wildfires burn across western US – Press Telegram