Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor
(The Center Square) – More than 30 million people in Western states are under excessive heat warnings and advisories Monday, with multiple cities hitting record-high triple-digit temperatures. As of Sunday, more than 300,000 acres have burned in six western states.
In Oregon, the Bootleg Fire burned 143,607 acres and is zero percent contained. It “will see the potential for extreme growth today,” the National Weather Service in Medford, Oregon, tweeted.
“We are seeing doubling in size of the fire every 24 hours,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Gert Zoutendijk said. “Basically every ember that falls will start a new fire.”
The fire shut down three major power transmission lines used in California, responsible for supplying 10% of the state’s energy. As of Monday, the three power lines were still down, officials said. California officials issued a “flex alert,” urging Californians to conserve energy. Residents are asked to avoid using major electricity-using appliances like ovens and dryers between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. PST.
In Northern California, the Beckwourth Complex Fire grew into the largest wildfire seen this year in the state, covering an area nearly triple the size of San Francisco. It burned 83,926 acres and is 8% contained. As it burns along the California-Nevada border, homes in Nevada’s Washoe County are threatened.
NV Energy, Nevada’s largest power provider, is urging customers to conserve electricity.
In Arizona, the Cedar Story Basin Fire covers 700 acres and is zero percent contained.
At least four wildfires are burning in southeast Washington, the largest covering 46,352 acres.
In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little declared a wildfire emergency and mobilized the state’s National Guard to help fight wildfires that have already burned a combined 39,000 acres as of Sunday.
In Montana, several fires burning throughout the state have forced road closures and resulted in evacuation orders.
According to a NOAA map of vertically integrated smoke coming from the fires in these states, the air quality in these and multiple states and Canada has significantly decreased.
Smoke covered more than half of Oregon as of July 12, also covering nearly all of Idaho, half of Montana, most of northern Nevada, all of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, and most of Arizona and New Mexico. Much of North and South Dakota and Minnesota were also covered in smoke as of Monday, as well as roughly half of Nebraska, with smoke continuing to blow north into much of Canada reaching parts of the Arctic even north of Alaska.
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