Wildfires Rage as Western Heat Wave Peaks

California fire covers 140 square miles
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 12, 2021 5:50 PM CDT
Wildfires Rage as Western Heat Wave Peaks
David Garfield clears a fire break around his home as the Sugar Fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex Fire, burns toward Doyle, Calif., on Saturday, July 10, 2021.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Dozens of wildfires burned across the torrid US West on Monday, but fire agencies reported progress in corralling the flames and forecasters predicted a gradual decrease in extreme temperatures. The fires have forced evacuations in numerous areas with dispersed properties and tiny communities where some burned homes and other structures have been observed. Total losses were still being tallied. The fires erupted as the West was in the grip of the second bout of dangerously high temperatures in just a few weeks, and the entire region is suffering from intense drought. The National Weather Service said, however, that the heat wave appeared to have peaked in many areas and excessive-heat warnings were largely expected to expire by Monday night or Tuesday, the AP reports.

The largest wildfire of the year in California—the Beckwourth Complex—covered about 140 square miles on northern California’s border with Nevada. Plumas National Forest officials said firefighters successfully contained almost a quarter of the blaze but still expected some extreme fire activity. Evacuation orders and warnings were in effect for remote areas of California’s Lassen and Plumas counties and Nevada's Washoe County. In Oregon, the Bootleg Fire covered 240 square miles in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, near the Klamath County town of Sprague River. Elsewhere, a forest fire started during lightning storms in southeast Washington grew to more than 86 square miles. It was 20% contained Monday. In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little mobilized the National Guard to help fight twin lightning-sparked fires that have together charred nearly 24 square miles.

(Read more wildfires stories.)

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