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article imageWildfires in three Western states have burned over 90,000 acres

By Karen Graham     Aug 14, 2020 in Environment
Firefighters across three Western states are battling wildfires that have destroyed more than 90,000 acres. Rising temperatures have not helped as firefighters in California, Oregon and Colorado work to get the blazes under control.
In California, evacuation orders have been issued for areas threatened by the Lake Fire and Ranch2 Fire in Los Angeles County. The huge Lake fire is just 12 percent contained after threatening more than 5,400 homes. It had charred 17 square miles (44.5 square kilometers) of brush and trees.
And while cooler temperatures overnight helped in increasing the containment of the fire, a weather update on Thursday night called for hot, dry weather with extremely dangerous fire conditions because of possible gusty winds, according to the Associated Press.
A second fire in the county, the Ranch2 Fire, has forced more than 300 homes to be evacuated. It has consumed more than 3,000 acres and is 0 percent contained.
Across the West Coast and parts of Texas, around 80 million are under some form of a heat alert, CNN meteorologist Rob Shackelford said. From worsening drought to experiencing wetter wet seasons and drier dry seasons, climate change is hitting California harder than almost anywhere else in the U.S.
Oregon's Mosier Creek Fire
Just over the northern border, in Oregon, the Mosier Creek Fire near this Columbia River Gorge has now erupted to 971 acres as of Fridaqy morning after consuming 800 acres on Thursday. The fire is only 10 percent contained and investigators have determined the fire was human-caused, KOIN.com is reporting.
Fire officials in Oregon are also concerned about the weather forecast for their state. Extreme heat and high fire danger is in the forecast, although the winds are expected to be calmer, a good sign for getting fire ;lines set.
“When we get the triple digits this time of year, relative humidity drops, we get wind and then fire growth is very, very rapid,” said Oregon Department of Forestry Public Information Officer Rich Tyler in a briefing on Friday morning.
Close to 900 people have been evacuated as the fire continues to threaten several hundred homes and other structures. Of the four structures destroyed by the blaze so far, two were homes. Tyler also said firefighters will be contending with the pandemic.
“This is not a normal summer with the normal wildfire — we’ve been here before, we’ve done this before — we haven’t done this with COVID,” Tyler said. “We are going to do everything we can to separate ourselves from the citizens in town yet still be able to do our job and do it in a way where are not spreading COVID.”
Colorado has three major wildfires
Firefighters in Colorado are contending with tinder-dry conditions as well as heat as they battle three separate wildfires on the western and northern sides of Colorado, according to Colorado Public Radio.
Here are the latest details on the three fires:
Grizzly Creek Fire: 14,663 acres, no containment (Aug 14 @ 6:31 a.m.)
Pine Gulch Fire: 73,381 acres, 7 percent containment (Aug 14 @ 7:57 a.m.)
Cameron Peak Fire: 1,537 acres, no containment (Aug 14 @ 7:36 a.m.)
The two western fires, Pine Gulch north of Grand Junction and Grizzly Creek in the Glenwood Canyon, have been real smoke producers with the smoke so thick it had nearly obscured the Front Range. The Pine Gulch fire is growing so fast that it may end up being the fourth-largest wildfire in state history.
The Grizzly Creek fire has been very active and nearly doubled overnight in size, threatening Glenwood Springs. Evacuations are in place for some residents near No Name, and if the fire should slip across No Name Creek, some homes in Glenwood, north of Interstate 70, would be told to be prepared to evacuate.
The Cameron Peak Fire is burning to the west of Fort Collins in Northern Colorado at Chambers Lake. New closures put in place by fire managers will affect camping and other outdoor recreational activities in the area. The area around Chambers Lake was evacuated early in the fire.
More about Wildfires, three western states, 90000 acres, Evacuations, Climate change
 
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