Wildfires spread across more than 1 million acres of US and Canada as California urged to cut energy for fifth time

·2-min read
smoke from wildfires over the US west coast. (cira.colostate.edu)
smoke from wildfires over the US west coast. (cira.colostate.edu)

The parched lands of the Western US and Canada are being consumed by flame as wildfires ravage more than 1 million acres.

High temperatures and exceptionally dry ground – exacerbated by the climate crisis – lend fuel to the wildfires, which are currently raging across about 768,000 acres in the US and 500,000 in Canada, according to Axios.

And on Sunday evening, Californians were urged to conserve power on Monday evening for a fifth time this year, as high temperatures persist in the US West.

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Officials in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Montana were battling the blazes over the weekend and into the work week.

The largest of the ongoing fires is Oregon's Bootleg Fire, accounting for more than a third of all the destruction caused by the current crop of wildfires.

The Bootleg Fire has already destroyed 153,535 acres of land in Oregon. Its movement and intensity has shocked even veteran wildfire fighters.

Fire Incident Commander Al Lawson spoke to USA Today about the ferocity of the ongoing blaze.

“The fire behavior we are seeing on the Bootleg Fire is among the most extreme you can find and firefighters are seeing conditions they have never seen before,” he said.

California is also battling with its largest fire of the season, the Beckwourth Complex Fire, which is a combination of the Sugar Fire and the Dotta Fire.

The fire is about 20 per cent contained, but has already burned just shy of 90,000 acres of land.

On Saturday, the fire, which is burning along California's border with Nevada, spilled over the line and threatened homes in the desert state's Washoe County.

In Arizona, two firefighters have already been killed while responding to that state's blazes.

Two firefighters responding to the Cedar Story Basin Fire in Arizona were flying to the site on Saturday when their plane crashed, killing them. That fire is less than five per cent contained.

Farther north, Washington is dealing with four of its own fires, which have collectively burned more than 46,000 acres. The sweeping fires coincided with the state experiencing record high temperatures for the week.

The blazes in Idaho have forced the state's governor to call a wildfire emergency and to mobilize the National Guard to help combat the flames. The wildfires in that states have burned approximately 40,000 acres.

Wildfires are causing trouble as far north as Montana, where several fires have shut down roads and forced evacuations.

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