California wildfire destroys multiple homes as state’s largest blaze intensifies

Flames racing through rugged terrain in northern California destroyed multiple homes on Saturday as the state’s largest wildfire intensified and numerous other blazes battered the US west.

The Dixie fire, which started on 14 七月, had already leveled more than a dozen houses and other structures when it tore through the tiny community of Indian Falls after dark.

An updated damage estimate was not immediately available, though fire officials said the blaze has charred more than 181,000 acres in Plumas and Butte counties and was 20% contained.

The fire was burning in a remote area with limited access, hampering firefighters’ efforts as it charged eastward, fire officials said. It has prompted evacuation orders in several small communities and along the west shore of Lake Almanor, a popular area getaway.

The nation’s largest wildfire, the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon, was nearly halfway surrounded as more than 2,200 crew members worked to corral it in the heat and wind, fire officials said. The growth of the sprawling blaze had slowed, but thousands of homes remained threatened on its eastern side, 当局说.

“This fire is resistant to stopping at dozer lines,” Jim Hanson, fire behavior analyst, said in a news release from the Oregon Department of Forestry. “With the critically dry weather and fuels we are experiencing, firefighters are having to constantly reevaluate their control lines and look for contingency options.”

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for four northern counties because of wildfires that he said were causing “conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property”. The proclamation opened the way for more state support.

Such conditions are often from a combination of unusual random, short-term and natural weather patterns heightened by long-term, human-caused climate change. Global warming has made the west much warmer and drier in the past 30 年.

On Saturday, fire crews from California and Utah headed to Montana, Governor Greg Gianforte announced. Five firefighters were injured on Thursday when swirling winds blew flames back on them as they worked on the Devil’s Creek fire burning in rough, steep terrain near the rural town of Jordan, in the north-east part of the state. Attempts to learn their conditions were unsuccessful.

Another high-priority blaze, the Alder Creek fire in south-west Montana, had charred more than 6,800 acres and was 10% contained. It was threatening nearly 240 homes.

Elsewhere in California, the Tamarack fire south of Lake Tahoe continued to burn through timber and chaparral and threatened communities on both sides of the California-Nevada state line. 火, sparked by lightning on 4 七月, has destroyed at least 10 建筑物.

Heavy smoke from that blaze and the Dixie fire lowered visibility and may at times ground aircraft providing support for fire crews. The air quality south of Lake Tahoe and across the state line into Nevada deteriorated to very unhealthy levels.

In north-central Washington, firefighters battled two blazes in Okanogan county that threatened hundreds of homes and again caused hazardous air quality conditions. And in northern Idaho, east of Spokane, Washington, a small fire near the Silverwood Theme Park prompted evacuations on Friday evening at the park and in the surrounding area. The theme park was back open on Saturday with the fire half contained.

Although hot weather with afternoon winds posed a continued threat of spreading blazes, weekend forecasts also called for a chance of scattered thunderstorms in California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and other states. 然而, forecasters said some could be dry thunderstorms that produce little rain but a lot of lightning, which can spark new blazes.

多于 85 large wildfires were burning around the country, most of them in Western states, and they had burned over 1.4m acres.

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