No end in sight for western US wildfires
Wildfires have been ravaging large parcels of land in the western United States and there seems to be no end in sight for fire-weary Westerners.
Inciweb, an aggregating website for U.S. wildfires, reports 40 active fires in California alone. The largest to date is the Happy Camp Complex Fire which scorched over 134,000 acres and is currently listed as being 100% contained, but there are scores of other fires in California that are burning 30, 40, and 50 thousand acres at the same time. A good portion of the state is currently on fire.
As of yesterday (August 24) Oregon had 19 ongoing active wildfires. The largest reported is the Cornet-Windy Ridge Fire which has grown to 103,887 acres. This fire began on August 10 with a lightning strike and is currently 80% contained. The immediate danger with all wildfires, even those seemingly contained, is the shift in winds or the change in weather. Bad weather with lightning, little rain, followed by hot, dry conditions contribute to fires that, at present seem under control, start to grow once again. Also this is the kind of weather that starts the fire to begin with. Lightning strikes are the most common way, besides human started, that fires begin.
Washington state has not escaped this rampage. Twenty seven active fires are listed on Inciweb as of today (August 24) with the largest being the Okanogan Complex fire located east of Twisp. This fire began with a lightning strike on August 15. It quickly grew and is currently over 239,000 acres and is only 10% contained. There is rapid spreading of the fire in grass and brush. The burning of heavy timber is causing long range spotting making it more difficult to control the fire’s movement.
For updates, visit the Inciweb website, the interagency all-risk incident information management system that coordinates with federal, state and local agencies to manage wildfires.
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Bottom line: Satellite images show wildfires burning in the western United States in August, 2015.