US Wildfires have scorched more than 1 million acres across 12 states
Wildfires threaten all of the West — and one group more than others
That threat to Latinos has grown in the past decade, and they are twice as likely to live in areas most threatened by wildfires relative to the overall U.S. population.That threat to Latinos has grown in the past decade, and they are twice as likely to live in areas most threatened by wildfires relative to the overall U.S. population, according to data compiled by climate services firm risQ, which analyzes financial sector climate risk. The Latino population makes up about 18 percent of the U.S. but represents 37 percent of the people who live in the areas that risQ identified as facing the most extreme wildfire risks.
The Oregon National Guard was deployed Wednesday to help fight the massive Bootleg Fire ---- which has already charred more than 220,000 acres.
The fire, which has scorched 227,234 acres in the Fremont-Winema National Forest in the state's southwestern area, began July 6 and was 7% contained as of Thursday.
The state's National Guard was called on to help with road closures and traffic control for areas affected by the fire, said Liz Merah, press secretary for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
'Like a firenado': Homes burn, thousands more threatened as wildfires roar through West
Major wildfires raged virtually unchecked across the West as an unrelenting heat wave and historic drought turned a wide swath of the US into tinder.The 59 blazes had consumed 1,350 square miles of mostly timber and brush, but an undetermined number of homes have burned and thousands were threatened. More than 12,200 wildland firefighters and support personnel were battling the fires.
About 1 million acres have been scorched in 71 large fires or complexes across 12 states, the(NIFC) said Thursday on its website.
With wildfires burning across much of the West, the nation is at its highest level of fire preparedness, according to the NIFC. This is the earliest move to Preparedness Level 5 -- also known as PL 5 -- in the past decade, the agency said.
Temperaturesare expected to remain above normal while storms are on horizon -- and weather conditions stand to exacerbate an already dire situation as huge areas of land go up in flames.
In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a drought emergency for the majority of the state, noting that the negative impact of climate change cannot be ignored any longer.
Western wildfires, Biden's APEC address, 'Space Jam: A New Legacy': 5 things to know Friday
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"Every part of our state is under attack. Every person in some way is under attack from the combined effects of climate change ... today ravaging our state. We have to recognize this," the Democratic governor said Wednesday. "This wave of climate change is breaking across our state, from east to west, north to south.
"This is not political hyperbole. It is a scientific consensus that is jarring the life of every Washingtonian in some way," Inslee said.
The emergency declaration includes all of Washington except for the Seattle, Tacoma and Everett metro regions, which the governor said are currently believed to have enough water for the time being.
Oregon and Washington moved intoof wildfire preparedness Wednesday as the Bootleg Fire continued to tear through hundreds of thousands of acres.
Communities around Summer Lake and the town of Paisley in southern Oregon were being evacuated Thursday due to "increased fire activity" around the blaze.
Overnight Energy: Democrats seek to tackle climate change with import tax | Advocates say bigger deal needed to meet climate crisis | Western wildfires worsen with 80 different fires
MONDAY AGAIN. Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at email@example.com . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at @BudrykZack . Today we're looking at the latest on carbon-import tax proposals and pushback from activists on the Biden administration's climate action, as well as wildfires in the West.
In Chelan County, Washington, 1,500 homes are under evacuation notifications because of the fast-moving, which has burned at least 11,000 acres, according to the sheriff's office and fire officials.
In Northern, firefighters are battling the Dixie Fire, leading officials to issue evacuation warnings. The fire sparked Tuesday in Butte County, burning through nearly 2,250 acres with no containment, according to CAL Fire. The same area was devastated by the 2018 Camp Fire -- the deadliest and most destructive fire in state history.
have said the dozens of wildfires burning amid the West's severe drought and heat waves are also induced by the climate crisis.
And wildfires are not only hitting the US. In British Columbia, Canada, the Cariboo Regional District issued an evacuation order Wednesday for 1,074 properties in Flat Lake to Green Lake, according to a news release.
The order applies to approximately 140,775 acres, where people were asked to leave immediately. The latest data shows that at leastare raging in the province.
Western wildfires prompt evacuations in California, Oregon
A series of wildfires across the western U.S., including one in Oregon that has burned nearly 400,000 acres, has prompted thousands of evacuations.In Oregon, where the so-called "Bootleg Fire" has burned 394,000 acres as of Wednesday morning, officials have ordered a series of evacuations, including that of a wildlife research station in Klamath Falls, according to The Salem Reporter.Meanwhile, in California, officials have ordered evacuations due to the Dixie Fire in Butte County. The California blaze has destroyed two structures already, according to CNN.
'It's just heartbreaking'
Native American communities in Washington and Oregon are also dealing with ravaging wildfires.
The Bootleg Fire has torched ancestral lands of the Klamath Tribes in south Oregon. "It's just heartbreaking as this in our traditional ancestry land. We have been up in this area for at least 14,000 years," Don Gentry, chairman of the Klamath Tribes, told CNN.
"The fire is burning in our traditional homelands where we have treaty rights to gather, hunt, fish and exercise our traditional rights. It will have a negative effect on our treaty resources," Gentry said in a phone interview.
There are nearly 5,600 members of the Klamath Tribes and about half of them live in Klamath County, about 70 miles north of the Oregon-California border. The fire has forced some members to evacuate.
"Though I haven't been able to get to the area since the fire has burned through, I feel devastated, I feel devastated by it. I have hunted the area with my father, brother, grandson, many other elders and tribal members over the years. Just thinking of the loss is difficult for me and many of our people," Gentry told CNN.
To make matters worse, he said the tribes are concerned about water quality issues caused by the fire.
In northeast Washington, the Chuweah Creek Fire is burning near the Colville Indian Reservation, where tribal leaders say there are not enough resources to keep it under control.
"We've had the heat wave that dried out everything out here, with the potential that it could become catastrophic very soon," Colville Business Council Chairman Andy Joseph Jr. told CNN Wednesday.
Seven homes were destroyed in the last two days, Joseph said. The fire has charred more than 32,000 acres, the NIFC said.
The reservation's economy is also threatened by the flames.
"Some of the animals had to be put down because of burns," he said, adding that timber generates the revenue to help keep their government running.
Humans are the cause of most wildfires. Climate change will make that worse .
Climate change is exacerbating wildfire dangers across the West, creating the perfect conditions for the main culprits to start damaging fires: human beings.People are the driving force behind the changing climate, and they are also the driving force behind most fires.Data from the National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) indicates the vast majority of wildfires, 88 percent, were ignited by human sources on average from 2016 to 2020.As recently as last week, utility Pacific Gas & Electric said in a disclosure to California's State Utility Commission that it believes its equipment was connected to the ignition of the Dixie Fire, which has reached 40,500 acres as