Seven new large fires were reported Sunday, bringing the total number of wildfires raging in the United States to 91, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).
More than 1.8 million acres have burned since these fires began, the NIFC said. More than 22,300 wildland firefighters and incident management teams are involved in battling the blazes.
This year, 37,803 fires have burned more than 3 million acres across the United States, per NIFC. During the same period in 2020, 32,059 fires burned a total of 2.1 million acres.
“As hot temperatures and very dry vegetation persists, it is important to stay informed on current and predicted environmental conditions,” NIFC said in its Sunday update. “Check for fire restrictions and closures before you head out to enjoy your public lands. Now more than ever, we need your help to prevent wildfires.”
Idaho is the state with the biggest number of large fires, at 23. However, Oregon has the most acres burned: 554,587 among its 11 fires. The Bootleg Fire near the California border is alone responsible for burning 413,734 acres.
The Dixie Fire in California has reached 244,888 acres in size and is 32% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
A total of 67 structures have been destroyed due to the Dixie Fire, and an evacuation order remains in place for the Butte Meadows, Jonesville and Lake Philbrook areas. There have been no fatalities reported at this time.
The Tamarack Fire, which is burning south of Lake Tahoe, is now 84% contained, according to InciWeb. It began July 4 due to a lightning strike, and most evacuation orders for the area have now been lifted.
Wildfires aren’t just affecting the mainland US. The Mana Road Fire on the northern side of Hawaii’s Big Island led to the evacuation of more than 7,000 people, according to County of Hawaii’s Communications Director Cyrus Johnasen. The fire has scorched more than 40,000 acres since it started Friday.
So far two homes have been destroyed, Johnasen told CNN by phone Sunday.
Rains hopefully bring relief to scorched western US
Monsoon season has arrived in the west, bringing with it mudslides, flash flooding and dust storms.
The monsoon moisture moving into the region could potentially stomp out some fires and quench the dry vegetation and soil, but it could also cause more dangerous conditions.
“Lightning and high fire danger will likely result in new fire starts. Gusty thunderstorm winds could contribute to fire spread. Despite rainfall, initial attack resources could be overwhelmed and holdover fires are possible,” said the National Weather Service office in Medford, Oregon.
Red flag warnings are in place across central and eastern Oregon for the weekend, where the potential for thunderstorms has drawn out worries for more fire starts.
With the Bootleg Fire already blistering over 400,000 acres of the Oregon hills, lightning and strong winds from monsoon thunderstorms could start more fires, further straining resources.
The rainfall might help control some fires in the region. But left behind will be the scorched earth that is prone to runoff and flash flooding.
Death toll in Turkey wildfires increases to 8
The United States isn’t the only country experiencing serious wildfires. For the second straight day, more than 1,100 people have been evacuated by sea from the tourist hotspot of Bodrum to escape Turkey’s forest fires burning along the Mediterranean coast.
“We helped the evacuation of 1,140 people by 12 boats,” Orhan Dinc, president of the Bodrum Maritime Chamber, told CNN on Sunday. “We did evacuation by boats yesterday as well, but I have never witnessed something similar before in this region. This is the first time.”
Dinc said that while roads remain open and evacuations continue by land, evacuations by sea help keep roads open for fire trucks and ambulances.
The death toll in Turkey’s forest fires along the Mediterranean coast has increased to at least eight people killed on Sunday, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
The latest victims include a Turkish-German couple who were found in a house.
According to the Turkish Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, 111 fires have started across the country since July 28. Six fires are still burning in three different cities, the ministry said.
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