The McKinney fire raging across northern California has now left two dead.
The blaze, which started on Friday, has now reached over 55,000 acres — larger than Washington, DC
Evacuations have been ordered for a large swath of Siskiyou County, including parts of Yreka, the county seat, with a population of 8,000.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency, and the blaze remains completely uncontained.
Five miles to the south, the Meamber Fire erupted on Sunday night and has scorched 40 acres. New large fires are also burning in Oregon, Nebraska and Montana – as continued fires burning Idaho, California, Alaska and elsewhere.
The 2022 wildfire season is turning out especially powerful, with six times the size of Rhode Island burned since 1 January.
Wildfires are expected to grow worse in the coming decades as the climate crisis makes conditions in many parts of the planet hotter and drier — two crucial elements for intense blazes.
The western US is currently experiencing a decades-long “megadrought” fuelled by the climate crisis that has dried out vegetation and created near-ideal conditions for fire growth.
Evacuations ordered for part of Yreka, largest city in Siskiyou County
Two found dead in a charred vehicle
Large fires also burning in Montana, Idaho and elsewhere in US West
McKinney fire grows to nearly 80 square miles
14:37 , Ethan Freedman
Northern California’s McKinney fire has reached nearly 80 square miles and is completely uncontained after exploding in size over the weekend
Two people killed
14:48 , Ethan Freedman
Two people have died in a vehicle as the McKinney Fire blazed through northern California, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s office
The car was on a residential driveway near the community of Klamath River
14:56 , Ethan Freedman
As of Sunday night, the McKinney Fire had reached over 50,000 acres – nearly 80 square miles, larger than Washington, DC
Another new fire in Montana, the Elmo Fire, had reached over 10,000 acres
The Moose Fire in Idaho, which started a couple weeks ago, has reached nearly 50,000 acres and remains just 23 per cent contained
15:00 , Ethan Freedman
Two people have been arrested within the evacuation zone for the McKinney Fire, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff, both charged with burglary-related offenses
Early Monday AM two people were arrested within the #McKinneyFire evac zone & booked into the #SiskiyouCounty Jail. One suspect booked for 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝘀𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗴𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝘁𝗼𝗼𝗹𝘀 & the other for 𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗴𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝘃𝗮𝗰𝘂𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘇𝗼𝗻𝗲. pic.twitter.com/1bs3W1Am4X
— Siskiyou County Sheriff (@SiskiyouSheriff) August 1, 2022
15:09 , Ethan Freedman
The western edge of Yreka, the largest city in Siskiyou County, is currently under mandatory evacuation orders – with more of the city under an evacuation warning
15:16 , Ethan Freedman
The Elmo Fire in Montana has expanded to nearly 13,000 acres – 20 square miles – overnight, with “critical fire weather” expected today
15:23 , Ethan Freedman
15:41 , Ethan Freedman
The McKinney fire is sending a huge plume of smoke over northern California and Oregon
15:55 , Ethan Freedman
Footage from Saturday shows just how quickly the McKinney fire erupted, reaching 18,000 acres overnight. The blaze is now more than 50,000 acres and growing.
The #McKinneyFire is once again exploding this morning after growing to the size of the #OakFire (18,000+ acres) in under 18 hours.
The next few days will provide perilous fire weather conditions with extreme heat, potential prolific dry lightning and strong/erratic winds. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/ivVjWnDb8d
— US StormWatch (@US_Stormwatch) July 30, 2022
McKinney fire reaches 55,000 acres
15:57 , Ethan Freedman
The McKinney Fire has reached 55,000 acres as of Monday morning, officials say, with continued growth expected over the next couple of days
16:06 , Ethan Freedman
The McKinney fire is just the latest climate-related disaster to strike the US.
At the end of the last week, devastating flooding hit parts of eastern Kentucky, killing at least 30 people with more deaths expected.
Intense heat also hit the Pacific Northwest, which normally has mostly cool, seasonable temperatures, leaving at least seven people dead in Oregon.
Wildfires, heatwaves and flash floods are all expected to become more common in many parts of the world as greenhouse gases continue to heat up the planet.
Everywhere is on fire. Here’s why the climate crisis is to blame
16:13 , Ethan Freedman
16:26 , Ethan Freedman
The McKinney Fire remains vastly uncontained as it sweeps through the Klamath National Forest in northern California. Since starting, the blaze has jumped over State Route 96 and crept closer to the city of Yreka
— Klamath NF (@Klamath_NF) August 1, 2022
16:33 , Ethan Freedman
16:39 , Ethan Freedman
Wildfires are pushing smoke around and damaging air quality throughout the Pacific Northwest
Look at the big picture today! Multiple large fires nationally sending smoke coast to coast. Are you smoke ready? https://t.co/EeEqDrcFls. Today's forecast https://t.co/e6JQgmAETw #MooseFire #wildfire #fire #wildfiresmoke #airquality pic.twitter.com/H5rcD4EyIC
— AirResourceAdvisor (@firebugs3) August 1, 2022
17:08 , Ethan Freedman
Three smaller wildfires have broken out south of the McKinney Fire – the Meamber Fire, the Shackleford Fire and the Kelsey Fire. Both the Meamber and Shackleford blazes are around 30-40 acres, while the Kelsey Fire is around 75 acres.
17:22 , Ethan Freedman
A fire in Nebraska caused emergency evacuations and burned over 13,000 acres over the weekend, reports Nebraska Public Radio
Three homes have been destroyed and seven more damaged as the blaze swept through Scotts Bluff County, in the far western end of the state.
Images show fires blazing across fields and burning hay bales
Rows of round hay bales burn along Carter Canyon Rd pic.twitter.com/ihqqVODWaI
— NSP Sergeant Horak (@NSPTrooperHorak) July 31, 2022
17:31 , Ethan Freedman
Satellite footage shows the intense column of smoking rising up over the McKinney Fire
Over the weekend, #GOESWest tracked the #McKinneyFire, which has shown extreme behavior, producing pyrocumulonimbus clouds and explosive growth on Saturday.
It's now California's largest #wildfire of 2022, burning more than 50,000 acres as thousands of residents evacuate. pic.twitter.com/Vj9baZyELY
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) August 1, 2022
17:37 , Ethan Freedman
A 60-acre fire has broken out in Oregon in the Willamette National Forest
The fire has closed part of the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs north to south across the western edge of the US
Today's new fire is called the Potter Fire. It is near Potter Mountain on the Middle Fork Ranger District of the Willamette National Forest.
The fire was reported at 60 acres and very active although in a relatively remote area. pic.twitter.com/43mmk5VQKA
— WillametteNatlForest (@willametteNF) July 31, 2022
17:45 , Ethan Freedman
In Texas, the Boldt Fire broke out on Saturday east of San Antonio and burned over 300 acres
Officials say the blaze is now 90 per cent contained
17:51 , Ethan Freedman
The McKinney Fire has quickly become California’s largest blaze of the year. Prior to that, the largest was the Oak Fire, which spread just outside of Yosemite National Park over the past couple of weeks.
The Oak Fire has reached over 19,000 acres, and is 72 per cent contained as of Monday morning
Dozens of hikers evacuated from McKinney Fire
17:53 , Ethan Freedman
Sixty people hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail in northern California as the McKinney blaze grows
According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s office, right across the border in Oregon, officials went to different trailheads to pick up hikers out of the evacuation zone