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Wildfires Rage as West Bakes

Firefighters battle extreme heat in California, Oregon, elsewhere
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 12, 2021 11:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – Firefighters were working in extreme temperatures across the West and struggling to contain wildfires, the largest burning in California and Oregon, as another heat wave baked the region. Details, via the AP:

  • The largest wildfire of the year in California—the Beckwourth Complex Fire—was raging along the Nevada state line and has burned about 134 square miles as state regulators asked consumers to "conserve as much electricity as possible" to avoid any outages starting Monday afternoon.
  • In Oregon, the Bootleg Fire exploded to 224 square miles as it raced through heavy timber in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, near the Klamath County town of Sprague River. The fire disrupted service on three transmission lines providing up to 5,500 megawatts of electricity to neighboring California.

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  • A wildfire in southeast Washington had burned almost 60 square miles as it blackened grass and timber while it moved into the Umatilla National Forest.
  • In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little declared a wildfire emergency Friday and mobilized the state's National Guard to help fight fires sparked after lightning storms swept across the drought-stricken region.
  • In Arizona, a small plane crashed Saturday during a survey of a wildfire in rural Mohave County, killing both crew members. The Beech C90 aircraft was helping perform reconnaissance over the lightning-caused Cedar Basin Fire, near the tiny community of Wikieup northwest of Phoenix.
  • The blazes come as the West is in the midst of a second extreme heat wave within just a few weeks, and as the entire region is suffering from one of the worst droughts in recent history. On Sunday, firefighters working in temperatures that topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit were able to gain some ground on the Beckwourth Complex Fire, doubling containment to 20%.
(Read more wildfires stories.)

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