Dozens of large wildfires are still scorching land in more than a dozen states across the country. Eleven of these states are in the West.
As of Thursday, these 79 large fires had burned almost 1.5 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
The Bootleg fire in southern Oregon is the largest in the country, first reported on July 6. Seventeen days later, it’s almost 400,000 acres in size and 40% contained. This is based on an early Friday morning report from InciWeb, the National Fire Information Center’s website
Much of the fire is confined to the Fremont-Winema National Forest, approximately 11 miles northeast of Sprague River. However, people have evacuated a number of small towns near the fire’s perimeter. Officials said Wednesday that the fire likely started as a result of a lightning strike, as did 22 of the other 79 large fires.
Smoke from the fire is highly visible from Oregon State Highway 140, Sprague River Highway and the town of Chiloquin. Drivers should expect increased traffic in the area from fire equipment, and officials are asking everyone to drive extra carefully in the area. On some local roads, traffic is allowed for evacuation and emergency services only due to low visibility from the smoke.
Although the weather will be fairly hot and very dry Friday across the fire area, crews are hoping to make some progress with containment as winds remain light.
The Dixie fire is the second largest in the nation. It covered 113,000 acres as of early Friday morning and was only 18% contained.
The Beckwourth complex fire is the third largest in the nation. It covered almost 106,000 acres as of Thursday evening and, fortunately, was 98% contained.
The Tamarack fire is much smaller than the three previously mentioned. However, it’s spreading quickly and was only 4% contained as of Thursday evening.
It started on July 4 in eastern California, south of Lake Tahoe, and has crossed U.S. Highway 395 into western Nevada. This is one of the other fires sparked by lightning. The fire could spread more Friday as humidity remains low along with breezy conditions.
Other notable weekend weather
Drivers will likely hit areas of heavy monsoonal rain and flash flooding in the Desert Southwest and Four Corners area. The National Weather Service has flash flood watches in place for the Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, and Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, metropolitan areas, as well as southern Utah and portions of western Colorado. Watch for potential periodic road closures on the Interstate 10, 40 and 70 corridors.
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