Emergency Crews Battle Large Wildfires in 6 Western States

A massive blaze in California topped a growing list of wildfires.

ByABC News
August 23, 2016, 7:01 AM

— -- Hot, dry and windy conditions have created a perfect storm for the spread of large wildfires in several western states, including a massive blaze in California that has destroyed 135-square miles of forest.

In addition, Washington, Wyoming, Montana and Oregon each had their hands full with large active wildfires. A total of 26 active blazes have burned more than 415,000 acres in eight western states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

So far this year, some 38,000 wildfires have torched more than 4 million acres, according to their latest figures.

In central California, a wildfire charred 33,173 acres and destroyed more than 30 homes while threatening 1,900 structures, forcing the evacuation of more than 2,400 people. Emergency crews had that blaze 35 percent contained late Monday, according to Cal Fire.

Nearly 2,000 emergency personnel continued to battle a massive blaze in northern California that started over one month ago but continues to gain ground. That fire, burning north of the Big Sur coastal area, has been blamed for one death and three injuries and has destroyed 57 homes, according to Cal Fire.

In Washington state, a cluster of wildfires ringed the city of Spokane, destroying more than a dozen homes and forcing hundreds to flee. The largest of those blazes, known as the Yale Road Fire, grew to nearly 3,500 acres on Monday, as crews struggled to suppress the flames that have so far destroyed 10 homes.

In Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park, a 35 square-mile wildfire did not keep visitors from enjoying the wildlife and scenery, even as it continued to expand in a remote area along the park's western boundary, the Associated Press reported.

Officials in Montana issued evacuation orders to a rural community after a wildfire doubled in size in one day, the AP reported. Winds blowing up to 40 mph created volatile conditions in which fires can quickly expand or change direction. Some 20 homes and other buildings were threatened as 317 firefighters responded to the blaze.

In Oregon, a fast-moving wildfire first spotted Sunday afternoon quickly became one of the state's largest active blazes, according to the AP. Officials say nearly 50 square miles have been burned near the Idaho state line as about one hundred firefighters struggled to contain it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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