This year’s wildfire season has seen unprecedented and concerning developments. Wildfires in 13 states — primarily in the Western U.S. — have burned more than 3.4 million acres since the start of the year, reported CNN.
- With record heat conditions and worsening droughts across the West, local firefighters are still struggling to contain the blazes, reported The New York Times.
- President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with seven state governors about the wildfire situation on Friday, per CNN.
So far, this year’s wildfires have burned more than 5,300 square miles of land or more than the entire state of Connecticut, according to data from State Symbols.
These three massive fires have been burning for weeks.
1. What’s going on with Oregon’s Bootleg fire?
Oregon’s Bootleg fire, near the Oregon-California border, has been burning since July 6, reported the Deseret News. The wildfire remains the largest active blaze in the U.S. and the largest blaze in Oregon’s modern history.
- In three weeks, the Bootleg fire has burned more than 413,545 acres of land, reported CNN.
- The fire has destroyed more than 400 structures and 342 vehicles, per CNN.
By Thursday, the blaze was only 53% contained, per CNN. Officials have warned that the wildfire has grown too large to fully extinguish without a large rainstorm or snowstorm, per the Deseret News. In Oregon, these large storms usually come in the late fall.
- “There isn’t a ‘normal’ anymore. We need to be prepared for anything,” said Norm McDonald, the incident commander for the Bootleg fire, per CNN.
2. What’s happening with California’s Dixie fire?
In two weeks, California’s Dixie fire has quickly become California’s largest wildfire so far this year, reported The New York Times. The fire in Northern California has generated large plumes of smoke that have reduced visibility and worsened air quality.
- The Dixie fire is only 23% contained as of Thursday, per CNN.
- The fire has already burned more than 226,421 acres of land, per CNN.
- The blaze has destroyed 46 structures and threatens 10,600 more, reported CBS.
Officials have described the Bootleg and Dixie fires as burning earlier and more intensely than usual for this point in the fire season, reported The New York Times.
3. What’s the Tamarack fire in California and Nevada?
California is also grappling with another massive fire. The Tamarack fire started in California and spread into Nevada, burning land in both states, reported CNN.
- The Tamarack fire has been burning for more than three weeks, having been ignited by lightning on July 4, reported The New York Times.
- As of Thursday, the fire is 65% contained, per CNN.
- So far, the Tamarack fire has destroyed 24 structures and more than 68,696 acres of land, reported CNN.
The governors of California and Nevada — who have been jointly responding to the Tamarack fire — called for increased federal support this week, per CNN. Their call prompted Friday’s virtual meeting with Biden, Harris and other state governors.