US: Firefighters continue to fight massive fires on the west coast Climate News


The fire in Tamarack, near the state line, in California, with Nevada, causes orders to partially close the road and evacuate.

Firefighters continue to fight massive fires off the west coast of the United States, as California authorities have closed part of the road and ordered evacuations near a blaze that is growing and remaining completely uncontaminated.

In a statement Sunday, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest said the Tamarack fire near Markleeville, about 257 kilometers (160 miles) west of Sacramento, near the California-Nevada state line, had grown to to 7,405 acres (18,299 acres).

“Thunderstorms are forecast this afternoon that could cause erratic winds in the fire zone,” the statement said.

He added that firefighters would continue to fight the flames when they could do so safely and said 517 troops have been assigned to the fire.

Heat and drought conditions in the western U.S. have caused several massive fires in recent weeks, with experts noting that climate change as an important factor that worsens extreme weather events.

Kelli Pennington and her family camped near Markleeville on Friday so her husband could take part in an extreme bike tour of the area when they were told to leave. Throughout the day, they had been watching the smoke develop, but the rapid spread of the fire surprised them.

“It happened so fast,” Pennington told The Associated Press. “We left the tents, the hammock and some food, but got most of our stuff, pushed our two kids into the car and left.”

Afternoon winds blowing at 32 to 48 miles per hour (20 to 30 mph) kindled the flames as they chewed through wood and dry brushes.

Meteorologists predicted a very dangerous fire climate until at least Monday, both in California and southern Oregon, where the largest U.S. wildfires continued to run through dry forests.

The Bootleg Fire, the largest of dozens of active flames in the United States, had expanded to become larger than the size of New York City, officials said on Saturday, adding that weather and dry wind conditions were expected to further fuel the flames.

The flames spread overnight from 110,884 acres (274,000 acres) to 117,359 acres (290,000 acres), three times the size of the Detroit metropolis, officials said. About 2,000 people have had to evacuate and on Sunday there are more followers.

Tamarack fire burns behind a greenhouse in the Markleeville community of Alpine County, California, on July 17 [Noah Berger/AP Photo]

“This fire is big and moving so fast, that every day it goes four to five miles,” incident commander Joe Hassel said. “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 warned Sunday of possible storms spreading from the California coast to northern Montana and likely “new lightning strikes” due to extremely dry fuels in the western U.S.

The dry, hot weather has also caused dozens of wildfires in Canada in recent weeks, as it is believed to have contributed to an episode of extreme heat. hundreds of dead in the province of British Columbia last month.

On Sunday, dozens of fires burned in northern Ontario, according to a provincial forest fire tracker. Some indigenous communities in the area have been forced to evacuate last week due to the fires.

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