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Large Wildfires Devour Homes, Force Evacuations across U.S., W. Canada

Posted by feww on July 7, 2015

Wildfires burning millions of acres across United States, W. Canada

Wildfire are burning more than 3.1 million acres across Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington.

As of July 2, some 750 wildfires have burned an estimated 2.4 million acres in Alaska so far this summer, “which is at pace with the 2004 season when 6.59 million acres burned,” Kale Casey, a public information officer for the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, told ABC News today. “In addition to the dry season we’re having, we’ve had a huge amount of lightning—about 6,000 to 10,000 bolts per day. There was three-day period in June where we had over 31,000 lightning strikes.”

Meanwhile, NOAA has issued the following statement:

Fires are raging in Alaska, and there’s no end in sight.

More than 600 fires have burned in excess of 1.8 million acres in the state, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, making this year the worst wildfire season so far in Alaska’s history. Fires have caused evacuations, highway closures, and rail and flight disruptions. More than 350 structures have been damaged, including about 70 homes.

Approximately 100,000 wildland fires occur each year in the United States, capable of severe destruction and loss of life. Above-average temperatures and a longstanding drought in the western U.S. are contributing to wildfires occurring in parts of Washington, Oregon and California.

“It’s only July 6 and this fire season ranks No. 9 on the list of the largest fire seasons on record in Alaska,” said AK Forestry.

alaska forestry
A graph from the National Interagency Fire Center that shows how Alaska’s fire season compares to the Lower 48 so far, this year.

A large blaze in Idaho has destroyed at least six multimillion-dollar homes forcing more than 200 people to evacuate from Bayview, a resort town on Lake Pend Oreille.

The Cape Horn fire, which was possibly sparked by lightning, and is now being fanned by strong winds and fueled by record temperatures, has consumed about 1,000 hectares, since Sunday.

“There have been multiple wildfires in eastern and central Idaho during the past week with the biggest being the Dietrich Butte fire, which started Friday afternoon. It’s scorched about 2,500 acres north of Dietrich, a town near Shoshone,” said a report.

A 400-acre wildfire threatens homes in Vacaville (between San Francisco and Sacramento), Northern California, forcing more than 100 people to evacuate.

The Sleepy Hollow fire destroyed dozens of homes and consumed about 80 square kilometers before being mostly contained.

In May, Gov. Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency for Washington after snowpack reached historic lows, and rivers began dwindling and irrigation districts were forced to cut off water to farmers.

Wildfires have consumed about 160 square kilometers in Oregon, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

In June, Gov. Brown declared drought emergencies in Coos, Douglas, Gilliam and Jefferson counties, bringing the total to 19 counties officially in a state of drought.

The counties covered by the declarations:

Baker, Coos, Crook, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Jefferson, Jospehine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Wasco and Wheeler.

Saskatchewan, Canada

Saskatchewan First Nations Evacuate 13,000, Declare Wildfire State of Emergency

“Wildfires have forced more than 13,000 Lac La Ronge band members and others from their homes in aboriginal communities in the largest evacuation Saskatchewan has ever seen.”

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