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article imageLarge Wildfires blazing across Southwest as deadly heat expands

By Karen Graham     Jun 24, 2017 in Environment
The core of extreme heat keeping the southwestern part of the country in misery will expand its reach into the Pacific Northwest as the hot, dry weather further elevates the wildfire risk in the Southwest through Sunday.
“Heat will get supercharged across the Pacific Northwest through the weekend,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Michael LeSeney said.
“In areas west of the Cascades, temperatures will rise through the 80s and into the 90s with triple-digit heat likely in parts of the interior of Washington and Oregon,” LeSeney said.
With no rain in the forecast, the outlook for containing the 18 very large wildfires in the region looks pretty bleak. As of Saturday, there were six in Arizona, three in Utah, three in California, three in New Mexico and two in Nevada, plus one fire burning in Oregon. The two biggest fires are those in Arizona and Utah.
The annual fire season is off to an extremely worrisome start for 2017, with more destruction than usual already being seen in the first half of this year. According to Meteorologist Haley Brink of the CNN Weather Center, close to one million acres more have burned so far this year, compared to a 10-year average through June 22.
Over 800 firefighters battle Arizona's Frye Fire
The Frye Fire in southern Arizona has grown to cover 30,000 acres and is about 10 percent contained, according to the Forest Service at Coronado National Forest. The fire, which started June 7, is about 70-miles northeast of Tucson. Over 800 firefighters are battling the blaze.
Kelly Presnell
Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency Friday in Arizona in order to access $200,000 in emergency funds to counter increased wildfire activity through the season. Since April, the state has experienced more than a dozen wildfires, all of them fueled by high temperatures, winds, and available fuel.
“We thank the many brave men and women who have stepped up and responded to wildfires around Arizona,” Ducey said on Friday. “I’m issuing today’s declaration to make sure they have every resource needed to do their jobs and protect our communities.”
Wildfires prompt evacuations in Utah as no relief seen in heat
With no rain in sight, nine communities, including Brian Head, a ski town near the Dixie National Forest in the southern part of the state, have been evacuated. In Brian Head, located about 30 miles north of Zion National Park, over 13 homes and 8 outbuildings have been reduced to blackened timbers.
St. George News
The Brian Head Fire, which started on June 17, is now over 37,500 acres in size and is around 5.0 percent contained. Over 800 firefighters are also battling this massive fire. Temperatures in Brian Head are expected to moderate, being in the low 60s to the upper 70s through Friday next week - But no rain is is sight.
Other wildfires in the Southwest still going strong
Besides the two major fires reported, there are 16 other fires to talk about. The Corral Fire in New Mexico has reached 17,000 acres in size but is only burning with a low to moderate intensity at this time.
Steep terrain  limited access and high temperatures hampered firefighters while battling the Rhoads ...
Steep terrain, limited access and high temperatures hampered firefighters while battling the Rhoads Canyon Fire in Central Oregon.
Central Oregon Fire Information
The Rhoades Canyon fire in Central Oregon has grown from 10,000 acres three days ago, to 14,000 acres today, however Central Oregon fire officials say it is 50 percent contained. As for the fires burning in California and Nevada, there have been difficulties fighting some of those fires due to gusty winds.
More about Wildfires, deadly heat, one million acres, Frye Fire, Arizona
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