Fire in California prompts evacuations; Oregon Blaze Balloons Washington Montana Meteorologist Nevada Portland

Rapidly increasing forest fires in the South Lake Tahoe A highway jump, prompting more evacuation orders and the cancellation of an extreme bike ride Sierra Nevada Seriously dangerous wildfire season is looming over the coming days on Saturday.

According to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, the Tamarack fire, which was struck by lightning on July 4, erupted overnight and covered over 32 square miles (82 square kilometers) by Saturday evening. There was a fire hazard in Markleville, a small town close to the California-Nevada state line. Officials said it destroyed at least three structures, and that the one leading to the Alpine County airport was burning after a highway jump.

A notice posted on the 103-mile (165-kilometre) Death Ride website said several communities in the area had been evacuated and that all riders were ordered to evacuate. The fire left thousands of bikers and spectators stranded in the small town and rushed to get out.

Kelly Pennington and her family were camping near town on Friday so that her husband could take part in their ninth ride when she was asked to leave. They watched the smoke develop during the day, but were saved by the rapid spread of the fire.

“It happened so fast,” Pennington said. “We left our tents, hammocks and some food items, but we got most of our belongings, put our two kids in the car and left.”

Saturday’s ride was supposed to mark the 40th Death Ride, which attracts thousands of cyclists each year to ride through three mountain passes in the so-called. california Alps. It was canceled last year during the coronavirus outbreak.

Paul Burgess, who drove from Los Angeles to take part in the ride, said the cyclists he met were grateful to have survived the fire hazard.

“They just said that’s how it goes,” Burgess said. “It’s part of climate change to some degree, it’s part of a lot of fuel that doesn’t burn, the humidity is low, the fuel moisture level is low, and … around the state, many parts of it are very tinderbox-like. .

Afternoon winds gusts of 20 to 30 mph (32 to 48 kph) fanned the flames as they chewed up bone-dry wood and brush. Meteorologists predict severely hazardous fire seasons in both California and Southern through at least Monday Oregon Where the biggest wildfire in America ran through bone dry forests.

Bootleg fires increased significantly on Saturday night as dry and windy conditions took hold in the area, but firefighters began to gain more control on its western flank, but more than three times the containment of hell had begun. . The fire was still burning rapidly and dangerously along its southern and eastern sides, however, and officials expanded evacuations to the largely rural area of ​​Lakes and Wildlife Refuge.

The fire was 453 square miles (1,173 square kilometers) in size, or more than 100 square miles larger than the area of ​​New York City.

Incident Commander Joe Hassell said, “This fire is large and moving so fast that it extends to a distance of 4 to 5 miles every day.” “One of the many challenges our firefighters face every day is working in a new country that can present new dangers all the time.”

Extremely dry conditions and heat waves associated with climate change have affected the region, making it difficult to fight wildfires. Climate change has made the West hotter and drier over the past 30 years and will continue to make the weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

In southern Oregon, firefighters have dealt with dangerous and extreme fire situations, including massive “clouds of fire” that rise 6 miles (10 kilometers) above the fire. The bootleg fire has destroyed at least 67 homes and 117 outbuildings.

The fire has forced 2,000 people to evacuate and threatened 5,000 buildings, including homes and small structures, in a rural area north of the California border.

The Tamarack fire sent heavy smoke to Lake Tahoe and Nevada.

The National Weather Service on Sunday warned of possible thunderstorms from the California coast to northern Montana, saying “new lightning ignitions” are likely due to excessively dry fuel in the west.

Firefighters said they were facing late summer or autumn-like conditions in July.

The fires were just two of many burning in the drought-stricken US West, as new fires broke out or accelerated in Oregon and California.

The National Interagency Fire Center said there were 70 active major fires and multiple fire complexes that have burned approximately 1,659 square miles (4,297 square kilometers) in the US. The US Forest Service said at least 16 major fires were burning in the Pacific Northwest alone.

The fire was also growing rapidly in the mountains of northeastern Oregon, measuring 17 square miles (44 square kilometers) on Saturday. The Elbow Creek fire began Thursday and prompted evacuations in several small, rural communities around the Grande Ronde River, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Walla Walla, Washington.

Oregon Gov. kate brown Enforced the Emergency Conflict Act to mobilize more firefighters and equipment to help fight that fire.

The Dixie Fire, near the site of the deadliest fire of 2018 in the US in recent memory, contained 5% and covered 39 square miles on Saturday. The fire was in Feather River Canyon, northeast of Paradise City, California, and survivors of that horrific fire claimed 85 lives and watched the new fire burn.

Officials ordered the evacuation of a wilderness recreation area and warned residents of the smaller communities of Pulga and East Conco to be ready to leave.

“We are ready,” said Mike Garrappo, a retired military veteran. “We’ve dealt with a fire that’s been in the mountains forever. We know there’s a chance it won’t hit here, but we’re ready to go in case.

____

Flakes reported from Portland, Oregon. AP journalists Terry Chee in Belden, Calif., and Julie Walker in New York City contributed to this report.

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