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Wildfires are blazing in 13 states across the the US, burning more than 1 million acres in western states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Posted: Jul 25, 2021 3:26 PM


As dozens of wildfires burn across the West, officials declared additional states of emergency for counties in California and Nevada while the nation's largest blaze in Oregon continued to swell Friday.

The Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon has scorched 401,601 acres since it was sparked by lightning on July 6, according to officials. It is 42% contained while more than 2,000 people in the surrounding areas remain under some form of an evacuation order.

"Our firefighters have put in an incredible amount of hard work on this fire," Joe Hessel, an incident commander for the Oregon Department of Forestry, said in a statement Friday. "The fire continues to throw challenges at us, and we are going to continue to stay vigilant, work hard, and adapt."

Extreme fire behavior by the blaze helped to create a tornado last weekend, according to a post on the Bootleg Fire Info Facebook page Saturday.

The July 18 tornado was confirmed with the Medford National Weather Service Forecast Office, the post said.

"Extreme fire behavior, dry fuels and unstable atmosphere" combined to form the tornado, according to the post.

Overall, crews are battling 88 wildfires throughout the US, with six new large fires reported Saturday, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Nearly 22,000 firefighters and support personnel have been deployed to tackle the blazes, which have collectively burned more than 1.4 million acres, the agency says.

The climate crisis is making deadlier and more destructive wildfires the new normal, devastating homes, forcing thousands to evacuate and even destroying trees intended to offset carbon emissions.

Hundreds more fires are burning in the Canadian province of British Columbia, where a state of emergency was also declared this week.

In California, where eight fires are currently active, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday declared a state of emergency in four Northern California counties due to the hasty spread of flames.

Butte and Lassen counties are under states of emergency prompted by the state's largest blaze, the Dixie fire, the governor said in a news release. The Dixie and Fly fires have pushed officials to put Plumas County under the emergency declaration as well as Alpine County due to the Tamarack Fire, which straddles the California-Nevada border, he said.

By Saturday, the Dixie Fire had ballooned to 181,289 acres and was 19% contained, according to Inciweb. Nearly 4,200 firefighters and personnel were battling the fire.

Smoke from the blaze has moved into the area above the Tamarack Fire and, according to Inciweb, may impact Air Operations.

The Tamarack Fire has burned more than 65,000 acres and was 4% contained as of Saturday. The blaze also prompted Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak to put Douglas County under an emergency declaration on Friday.

Officials alarmed over delays on the Tamarack Fire

The handling of the Tamarack Fire has squared off local politicians and forestry officials.

It was initially allowed to burn because federal forest officials determined it wouldn't be a threat.

But they were wrong.

The fire has destroyed nearly 60,000 acres and at least 10 structures in California and Nevada.

Additional evacuations were announced Friday, bringing the total to 2,439 evacuees, according to InciWeb.

Nevada and California officials are questioning why the blaze wasn't tamed when it was sparked July 4.

In a letter to Forest Service Chief Vickie Christiansen dated Tuesday, California Rep. Tom McClintock -- who represents the rugged Sierra Nevada region where the fire was sparked -- demanded to know "why there was a lack of suppression action to combat the Tamarack Fire that began on July 4, 2021 until after July 10, 2021," according to a statement from his office.

On Tuesday, the Tamarack Fire crossed the state line and into Douglas County, Nevada.

And on Thursday, Nevada state Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, who represents that district, tweeted his disbelief.

"Firefighters doing everything they can to stop this monster. Still can't believe the USFS and Cal Fire let it grow from ¼ acre when it was first discovered," he wrote.

The US Forest Service defended its decision, saying in a statement "The steep, rugged, and remote terrain presented challenges to safely suppress this wilderness fire" and added that resources were limited and had to be assigned to higher-priority fires, like the East Fork Fire.

On Thursday, Nevada also received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fight the fire after requesting assistance earlier that day.

"At the time of the request, the fire threatened approximately 800 homes in and around Holbrook Junction," FEMA said Friday in a news release. "The fire also threatened a water treatment plant, power distribution lines and substations, cellular communications towers, and U.S. Highway 395."

Wildfire smoke compromises air quality for millions

The smoke from the hundreds of wildfires in both the US and Canada has had an impact on millions far from where they're burning

The smoke has traveled far and wide and is expected to continue causing health problems across the US.

The air quality in New York City, home to more than 8 million people, took a hit Tuesday when the smoke created a hazy skyline and gave it the city's poorest air in 15 years.

While air conditions in the Northeast significantly improved Thursday -- thanks to a cold front that pushed out some of that smoke -- millions in the Midwest and Southeast are still breathing air compromised by blankets of smoke that linger.

Many areas in the Northwest and Rockies, where the wildfires are burning, are also under air quality alerts.

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Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5061240

Reported Deaths: 74159
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152548627128
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581504
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 42°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
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Feels Like: 45°
Crater Lake
Mostly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 42°
Grants Pass
Mostly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 42°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 30°
Fog and stagnant air in the valleys, dry and mild weather continues into Monday
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