Saturday, October 16

At Least 70 Large Wildfires Burning in the Western US As Fears About Conditions Rise | Oregon

At least 70 major wildfires are burning across the western U.S. and nearby states, engulfing more than 1 million acres in flames, as fears mount that changing conditions could worsen an already depressed situation. terrible in itself. Important areas of these states are suffering from drought terms which are considered “extreme” and “exceptional” – the most severe categories.

Oregon authorities have said these arid, windy and unstable conditions will continue to feed the 281,208 acres Smuggling fire, which is only 22% contained, according to National Interagency Fire Department and InciWeb. The smoke and heat have created gigantic “clouds of fire,” which are dangerous plumes of ash and smoke that can spiral up to six miles into the sky.

At least 2,106 firefighters are fighting Bootleg, which is now America’s largest wildfire. Authorities have also been concerned that this inferno could merge with the nearby Log fire, which totals at least 4,830 acres.

Ash and burned trees after the Bootleg fire in Beatty, Oregon, on July 16.
Ash and burned trees after the Bootleg fire in Beatty, Oregon, on July 16. Photograph: Payton Bruni / AFP / Getty Images

Meteorologists also spotted larger, more extreme types of fire clouds earlier this week that can create their own weather, such as “fire tornadoes.” This extreme fire behavior is expected to worsen over the course of this weekend.

“The fire remains very active with a significant increase in surface area due to the hot, dry and windy conditions and the behavior of the fire dominated by the plume. The poor recovery of humidity at night is contributing to the active spread of fire during the night period ”, InciWeb saying by Bootleg. “Drought-affected fuels are generating strong dispersion rates. Expecting similar conditions for the next few days. “

“This fire is big and moving so fast that it moves four to five miles every day,” said Bootleg Incident Commander Joe Hassel. “One of the many challenges our firefighters face every day is working in a new country that can present new dangers all the time.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) has forecast “Excessive heat” in the northern plains and mountainous western states, with temperatures soaring “well above average” over the next several days. The NWS said triple-digit highs can be expected across eastern Montana and lower elevations west between mountains.

“This heat wave will exacerbate the severe to exceptional drought currently in the region, which in combination can create an environment conducive to wildfires spreading uncontrollably,” said the NWS.

The service also warned that “dry lightning could be a concern” for parts of northern and central California on Sunday. Although monsoon humidity enters from the south, very little rain will occur.

Residents of Northern California’s Paradise Township, which was mostly razed during a 2018 wildfire that killed 85 people, are on high alert for a blaze about 15 miles northeast of the city.

The extremely hot and dry conditions fueling these fires are linked to man-made climate change. The western US has become much drier and warmer over the past three decades and is expected to become more extreme, which in turn is poised to create more frequent and destructive wildfires.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there have been 34,596 wildfires from January 1 to July 16, affecting 2,364,643 acres. During the same period in 2020, there were 28,423 wildfires that affected 1,778,583 acres.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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