The Tamarack Fire south of Lake tahoe had burned more than 68 square miles (176 square kilometers) of wood and chaparral at head level on national forest lands. It erupted on July 4 and was one of nearly two dozen fires caused by lightning.
More than 1,200 firefighters were fighting the Alpine County fire, which destroyed at least 10 buildings, forced evacuations in several communities and closed parts of US 395 in Nevada and California. Firefighters were expecting active or extreme fire behavior Thursday, which could see 14 mph winds and temperatures approaching 90 degrees.
A request for voluntary evacuations was also issued for parts of Douglas County, Nevada. An evacuation center was set up at a community center in Gardnerville, Nevada.
Evacuated Morgana-Le-Fae Veatch said she had already packed most of her belongings because she will start community college next week, but her parents lost their home in a fire in 1987.
“ So this has been very, very stressful for them, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Oregon on Wednesday banned all bonfires on state-administered lands and in state campgrounds east of Interstate 5, the main highway commonly considered the dividing line between the wet western part of the state and the eastern half. dry.
The nation’s largest wildfire, the Oregon Bootleg Fire, grew to 618 square miles (1,601 square kilometers), just over half the size of Rhode Island.
However, authorities said lower winds and temperatures allowed crews to improve fire lines. The blaze was also approaching an area burned by a previous blaze on its active southeast flank, raising hopes that a lack of fuel could slow its spread.
The Oregon fire, which was started by lightning, has devastated the sparsely populated southern part of the state, expanding up to 4 miles (6 kilometers) a day, pushed by high winds and critically dry weather that turned trees and weeds in a tinderbox.
Fire crews have had to withdraw from the flames for 10 consecutive days when fireballs leap from canopy to canopy, trees explode, embers fly past the fire to start new flames, and in some cases, the heat of the fire. Hell creates its own climate of changing winds. and dry lightning. Monstrous clouds of smoke and ash have risen up to 6 miles (10 kilometers) into the sky and are visible for more than 100 air miles (161 kilometers).
The fire, which is being fought by more than 2,200 people, is contained in about a third.
At least 2,000 homes were ordered to be evacuated at some point during the fire and another 5,000 were threatened. At least 70 houses and more than 100 outbuildings have caught fire, but no one is known to have died.
Extremely dry conditions and recent heat waves linked to climate change have made wildfires more difficult to fight. Climate change has made West much warmer and drier in the last 30 years and will continue to make the weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.
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