The “Substation Fire” has exploded to more than 50,000 acres since Tuesday, while the deadly Ferguson Fire in California near Yosemite National Park continues to be a threat.
So far, the 2018 fire season has produced a handful of big fires in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado; conflagrations in Oklahoma and Kansas; and a fire bust in Alaska, along with garden-variety wildfires from Florida to Oregon. Some of those fires are in rural areas, some are in wildlands, and a few are in exurbs. Even in a time of new normals, this looks pretty typical. Fire starts are a little below the 10-year running average, and the amount of burned area is running above that average. But no one can predict what may happen in the coming months. California thought it had dodged a bullet in 2017, until a swarm of wildfires in late fall blasted through Napa and Sonoma counties, followed by the Big One – the Thomas fire, California’s largest on record, in Ventura and Santa Barbara. Every major fire rekindles another round [...]
A pair of researchers with the University of Washington has found that an increase in wildfire size and duration over the past 28 years has led to worsening bad air days in the U.S. Northwest. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Crystal McClure and Daniel Jaffe describe their study and what their results mean for people living in affected areas. Over the past quarter-century, wildfires (unplanned fires burning in forests or other areas) in many parts of the western United States have become larger and longer-lasting than they were in earlier years. Many environmental scientists have suggested this is due to global warming. Prior research has shown that such fires carry fine particulate matter into the air, and that many people can be harmed by breathing such particles. Those with lung conditions such as COPD or asthma, for example, can suffer problems [...]
GUINDA, CALIF.—A massive wildfire in rural Northern California has exploded in size and forced evacuations in hot, dry weather that is sweeping through several western states where blazes are threatening thousands of homes. The fast-moving fire that started over the weekend northwest of Sacramento grew dramatically to about 243 square kilometres by Monday night, largely burning out of control in rugged terrain with a few cattle and horse ranches and sending smoke and ash as far south as San Francisco. State fire officials said 700 homes and other buildings were threatened but none had burned. The fire that started Saturday about 160 kilometres northeast of San Francisco spread as strong winds pushed smoke south, dusting cars and homes with a thin layer of grey ash. About 300 people were told to flee their homes. No injuries were reported. The flames were chewing through tinder-dry grass, [...]
The San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado will shut down for the first time in its 113-year history as the drought-driven 416 fire has climbed to 22,131 acres. The closure order was signed Monday night and the shutdown will become effective Tuesday. It will prohibit entry by the general public into the 1.8 million-acre forest, across nine counties, at the start of the area’s busy summer season, which attracts worldwide visitors and tourists. The SJNF implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions on May 1 followed by Stage 2 fire restrictions on June 1, but conditions continue to deteriorate as the 416 fire and the 1,000-acre Burro fire continue to grow. “Under current conditions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire, and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life [...]
(Reuters) - More than 1,000 evacuees from a wildfire in northern New Mexico were allowed to return home on Monday, a day after showers helped quell part of the blaze, but a second, smaller fire in neighboring Colorado continued to rage largely unchecked. The two fires, burning about 250 miles (400 km) apart in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest, have blackened nearly 39,000 acres combined since last Thursday, federal fire officials said. Rain on Sunday helped firefighters in subduing the eastern flank of the so-called Ute Park Fire in New Mexico, leading authorities to lift evacuation orders for the 1,110 residents of Cimarron, a frontier-style town about 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Santa Fe, the state capital. About 75 people from the small nearby community of Ute Park, near the Colorado border, remained under a mandatory evacuation on Monday, said Judith [...]