Wildfires in California and Montana have intensified overnight, fueled by hot and windy conditions, threatening neighborhoods and forced evacuation orders.
In California’In the Klamath National Forest, a largely rural area near the Oregon state line, the rapid McKinney Fire grew from just over a square mile (about 2.5 km2 ) Friday to 62 square miles (160 km2) by Saturday.
The blaze burned at least a dozen homes and observers spotted wildlife fleeing the area.
Klamath National Forest spokeswoman Caroline Quintanilla warned that the fire “continues to grow with erratic winds and thunderstorms in the area and we are in triple digit (Fahrenheit) temperatures.”
With lightning forecast for the next few days, additional resources from elsewhere in the state are being brought in to help fight the area’s fires, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Saturday as the blaze intensified, giving him more flexibility to make emergency response and recovery effort decisions and access federal assistance.
It also allows “firefighting resources from other states to assist California crews with firefighting,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
Climate The blackout increases both the likelihood and the area burned by wildfires in the United States, Europe and Australia, by creating hot and dry conditions.
According to a peer-reviewed study, more than four million acres that burned in the United States between 1984 and 2015 are directly attributable to climate change.
Staggering footage shows Europe still on fire
Thousands have been ordered to flee as authorities declare a state of emergency due to an ‘explosive’ wildfire in California
Meanwhile, further northeast in Montana, a wildfire nearly tripled in size to more than 18 square miles near the town of Elmo and Flathead Lake.
About 200 miles south, Idaho residents remained under evacuation orders as the Moose Fire in the Salmon-Challis National Forest burned more than 67 square miles (174 km2) of woodland near the town of Salmon.
A buildup of vegetation was fueling the McKinney Fire in California, according to Tom Stokesberry, regional spokesman for the US Forest Service.
“It’s a very dangerous fire – the geography there is steep and rugged, and that particular area hasn’t burned in a while,” he said.
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