Thousands of firefighters battle big blazes across the West | National News



Thousands of firefighters battle big blazes across the West | National News

BLY, Ore. (AP) — An army of firefighters labored in hot, dry and windy weather Tuesday to contain fires chewing through wilderness and burning homes across drought-stricken Western states already sweltering in the second heat wave of the year.

A high-pressure system that created the intense weather was weakening, but temperatures were forecast to remain above normal on the lines of more than 60 active large blazes burning in the West and Alaska.

More than 14,000 firefighters and support personnel were attacking fires covering close to a million acres (1,562 square miles, 4,047 square kilometers) of land, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The largest fire in the United States was incinerating huge swaths of the Fremont-Winema National Forest in southern Oregon, where firefighters received a warning about conditions from incident commander Al Lawson.

“As you go out there today — adjust your reality,” he said. “We have not seen a fire move like this, in these conditions, this early in the year. Expect the fire to do things that you have not seen before.”

The week-old Bootleg Fire had ravaged about 316 square miles (818 square kilometers) by Tuesday morning, threatening about 2,000 homes and destroying more than 20 others, along with other minor structures. The fire’s movement prompted authorities to place additional areas under evacuation notice and expand the number of acres ordered closed on an emergency basis inside Fremont-Winema.

https://roanoke.com/news/national/thousands-of-firefighters-battle-big-blazes-across-the-west/article_ffb4f2ae-98a0-5172-90d0-4ea38ee34872.html