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At least 70 major wildfires are burning in western US as fears mount over conditions | Oregon




At least 70 major wildfires are burning in the western US and nearby states — engulfing more than 1 million acres in flames — as fears mount that changing conditions could exacerbate an already dire situation. Significant areas of these states are in the grip of drought requirements which are considered “extreme” and “exceptional” – the most serious categories.


Oregon authorities have said these dry, windy and unstable conditions will affect 281,208 acres bootleg fire, which according to only 22% of the National Interagency Fire Center and InciWeb. The smoke and heat have spurred on giant”fire clouds‘, these are dangerous columns of ash and smoke that can spiral up to six miles skyward.
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At least 2,106 firefighters battle Bootleg, which is now the largest wildfire in the US. Officials have also worried that this inferno could merge with the nearby wood fire, which totals at least 4,830 acres.

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

Meteorologists also discovered a larger, more extreme type fire clouds earlier this week – the ones that can make their own weather, such as “fire tornadoes”. This extreme fire behavior is expected to worsen over the course of this weekend.


“Fire remains very active with a significant increase in acreage due to hot, dry and windy conditions and the plume-dominated fire behaviour. Poor moisture recovery at night contributes to active fire spread during the night period,” InciWeb said from Bootleg. “Robust dispersal rates are generated by drought-affected fuels. I expect similar conditions in the coming days.”

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

The National Weather Service (NWS) has prediction “excessive heat” in the northern plains and between the western states, with temperatures rising “far above average” in the coming days. The NWS said three-digit highs can be expected in eastern Montana and lower parts of the intermountain west.

“This heat wave will exacerbate the severe to exceptional drought currently found in the region, which in combination could create an environment ripe for wildfires to spread unchecked,” the NWS said.

The service also warned Sunday that “dry lightning could be a concern” for parts of northern and central California. As monsoon moisture comes in from the south, very little rain will be produced.

Residents of the Paradise community in northern California, which was largely destroyed in a 2018 wildfire that killed 85 people, are on alert because of a blaze about 15 miles (15 miles) northeast of the city.


The extremely hot, dry conditions that fuel these fires are linked to human-induced 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 will lead to 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. In the same period of 2020, there were 28,423 wildfires that affected 1,778,583 hectares.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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