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article imageColorado wildfires grow as California prepares for extreme winds

By Karen Graham     Oct 23, 2020 in Environment
The so-called East Troublesome Fire burning in Grand County, Colorado, has exploded from 19,000 acres to more than 125,000 on Thursday, becoming the second-largest fire in the state's history, and forcing thousands of families to evacuate.
The East Troublesome Fire has now burned over 170,163 acres and is only 5 percent contained. The blaze tore through the town of Grand Lake and into the western portion of Rocky Mountain National Park, forcing terrified families from their homes and forcing the closure of The park.
"We plan for the worst. This is the worst of the worst of the worst," said Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin while referencing the fire's 100,000-acre jump in mere hours, according to CBS News.
This fire is now second behind the Cameron Peak Fire in the North-Central part of the state. As of Friday morning, the Cameron Peak wire has burned 206,977 acres and was 57 percent contained.
Colorado Public Radio is reporting that officials are worried now that the East Troublesome crossed the Continental Divide Thursday afternoon, upping the chance it could merge with the Cameron Peak fire, which is burning west of Fort Collins.
The National Weather Service issued Red Flag Warnings in the fire areas on Friday. The forecast in Granby calls for a high above 50 degrees and wind gusts over 20 miles per hour, while in Estes Park, temperatures could reach 39 degrees, and winds are expected to hit 30 miles per hour Friday night.
The Bidwell Bar Bridge is surrounded by fire in Lake Oroville during the Bear Fire in Oroville  Cali...
The Bidwell Bar Bridge is surrounded by fire in Lake Oroville during the Bear Fire in Oroville, California
The good news is that rain or snow is expected to fall on the west and east sides of the fires by Saturday night. About 77 percent of Colorado is experiencing extreme to exceptionable drought conditions. "It would be very positive for us if that forecast is accurate and we get a lot of moisture," Estes Valley Fire Chief David Wolf said Friday morning.
More bad news for California
While Colorado is trying to keep two huge wildfires from merging into a "mega-wildfire," as of Sunday and Monday, northern California and on up into Oregon will have to contend with the strongest wind event so far this year.
Wind speeds of 70 mph will be possible in the higher elevations, and very low relative humidity is expected. This has all the ingredients for possibly extremely critical fire conditions in parts of the region.
CAL FIRE has increased staffing and is on high alert. Officials are urging the public to ensure they are prepared for wildfires, as well as take all precautions outdoors to prevent sparking a wildfire.
More about Wildfires, Colorado, California, snow in Rockies, extreme winds in California
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