California wildfires cross into Nevada, prompting evacuations

California wildfires cross into Nevada, prompting evacuations

A wildfire in northern California prompted evacuations after crossing into Nevada as crews continue to fight a gigantic fire in southern Oregon.

The Tamarack Fire south of Lake Tahoe burned more than 68 square miles (176 square kilometers) of wood and chaparral at head level on national forest lands Wednesday.

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 has destroyed at least 10 buildings.

Smoke from wildfires across the western US has spread over large swaths of the eastern United States, including New York City (Mary Altaffer / AP)

Firefighters were expecting active or extreme fire behavior Thursday, which could see 14 mph winds and temperatures approaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 C).

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for several communities and a request for voluntary evacuations was issued for parts of Douglas County, Nevada.

An evacuation center was set up at a community center in Gardnerville, Nevada.

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), a little more than half the size of Rhode Island.

However, authorities said lower winds and temperatures allowed crews to improve fire lines.

A helicopter throws a drop of water to extinguish hot spots in a forest fire in Topanga, west of Los Angeles. (Ringo HW Chiu / AP)

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 four miles (six 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. Monstrous clouds of smoke and ash have risen up to six 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 the West much hotter and drier in the last 30 years and will continue to make the climate more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

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