80 large fires are burning in 13 states, scorching more than a million acres
We want to update you on the current wildfire situation in the west. Much of northern California is under a red flag warning until 8 PM tonight.
That is the National Weather Services’s highest alert. It was issued for events that could result in extreme fire behavior within 24 hours. The low humidity, strong winds, and the chance for lightning also contributed to the rating level. They are asking everyone, including farmers, to be extremely cautious because one less park can mean one less fire.
Right now 80 large wildfires are burning in thirteen states and they have scorched more than a million acres. That is up from last week’s 70 wildfires in twelve states.
Idaho and Montana have nearly 20 fires and are also in the middle of a heatwave. That will hamper efforts to fight the flames and increase the potential for heat-related illness.
A fire burning north of Sacramento tripled in size over the weekend. The Dixie Fire has now burned 15,000 acres and is only 15 percent contained. The fire is a threat to California’s rice crop, which is already less than in previous years. Farmers planted fewer acres due to the ongoing drought.
The largest fire is the Bootleg Fire which has scorched 300,000 acres along the California-Oregon border. Smoke now covers the entire length of Oregon and is pushing up into Canada. Thousands of rural residents have been forced to evacuate.
The fire is a potential threat to southern Oregon’s tree fruit and potato crops and livestock industry.
Members of the Congressional Wildfire Caucus want more federal programs to fight fires. They say there needs to be better support for firefighters, and mitigation efforts through the U.S. Forest Service. That includes paying firefighters more money, which the Biden administration supports.
Lawmakers also agree with getting all landowners on the same page to manage forests in a more responsible way.