Devastating wildfire conditions in West expected to worsen

Smoke from the fires is reaching as far as the Great Lakes.

July 14, 2021, 10:29 PM

The already devastating wildfire conditions in the West are expected to worsen Wednesday as the region sees an increase of gusty, dry winds -- which is fuel for fire.

More than 60 wildfires are burning across the West. Red flag warnings and heat advisories have been issued in Northern California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Volunteer firefighters spray water on hotspots from an isolated structure fire which was successfully extinguished the night before, as the Bootleg Fire expanded to over 200,000 acres, in Klamath Falls, Oregon, July 13, 2021.
Mathieu Lewis-rolland/Reuters

Wildfire season has only just begun, but there are already 14,000 firefighters on the front lines.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Wednesday forecast showed winds gusting up to 35 mph, temperatures soaring near 105 degrees and relative humidity falling to 7%.

PHOTO: An active fire is seen along a ridge at the Grandview Fire near Sisters, Ore., Sunday, July 11, 2021.
An active fire is seen along a ridge at the Grandview Fire near Sisters, Ore., Sunday, July 11, 2021. The wildfire doubled in size to 6.2 square miles, forcing evacuations in the area, while the state's biggest fire continued to burn out of control, with containment not expected until November.
Oregon Department of Forestry via AP

The Bootleg Fire in Klamath County, Oregon, is currently the nation's largest wildfire, clocking in at over 212,000 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

In Nespelem, Washington, all residents were evacuated as a wildfire caused by lightning raced across town, The Spokesman-Review reported.

Wildland firefighters watch and take video with their cellphones as a plane drops fire retardant on Harlow Ridge above the Lick Creek Fire, southwest of Asotin, Wash., July 12, 2021.
Pete Caster/Lewiston Tribune via AP
A wildland fire crew observes a fire line they set on Harlow Ridge above the Lick Creek Fire, July 12, 2021, south of Asotin, Wash.
Pete Caster/Lewiston Tribune via AP

In Madera County, California, local authorities have declared a state of emergency as the River Fire ravages the area. The blaze has covered 9,500 acres and is 28% contained, according to Cal Fire.

"The extreme heat and winds have proven to be challenging for not only fire personnel, but those working to support those efforts," Sheriff Tyson Pogue said Tuesday. "This proclamation will provide much needed resources to support our community."

The massive fires have sent smoke halfway across the country, reaching as far as the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes. Air quality alerts have been issued from Colorado to Minnesota.

A boat heads down the Snake River as smoke from the Asotin Complex Fire west of Clarkston, Wash., wafts eastward into Lewiston, Idaho on July 7, 2021.
Pete Caster/The Lewiston Tribune via AP

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