Authors: DAISY NGUYEN and GILLIAN FLACCUS
San Francisco (Associated Press)-A rapidly spreading wildfire south of Lake Tahoe crossed a highway, prompting more evacuation orders and canceling extreme bike rides through the Sierra Nevada on Saturday because the next few days are extremely dangerous The wildfire weather is imminent.
According to the Humboldt-Toyaby National Forest, the Tamarack fire triggered by lightning on July 4 exploded overnight. As of Saturday night, the fire had exceeded 32 square miles (82 square kilometers). The fire threatens the small town of Markleville near the California-Nevada border. Authorities said it destroyed at least three buildings and burned towards the Alps County Airport after jumping over the highway.
A notice posted on the 103-mile (165-kilometer) Death Ride website stated that several communities in the area had been evacuated and all riders were ordered to clear the area. The fire caused thousands of cyclists and spectators to be trapped in the town and scrambling to flee.
On Friday, Kelli Pennington and her family were camping near the town, so when they were told to leave, her husband could participate in his ninth ride. They watched the smoke spread throughout the day, but were caught off guard by the rapid spread of the fire.
“It happened so quickly,” Pennington said. “We left the tent, hammocks and some food, but we got most of the things, pushed our two children into the car and left.”
Saturday’s ride was supposed to be the 40th death ride, and every year it attracted thousands of cyclists to the area to ride through the three passes of the so-called California Alps. It was cancelled during the coronavirus outbreak last year.
Paul Burgess, who drove on the bike from Los Angeles, said that most of the cyclists he met thanked him for avoiding the danger of fire.
“They just said it was like this,” Burgess said. “In a way, this is part of climate change, it’s just part of a large amount of unburned fuel, low humidity, low fuel moisture content, and… around the state, many places are like a matchbox.”
The afternoon wind blows at 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers) per hour, and they chew on dry wood and brushes, which encourages the flames. Meteorologists predict that California and southern Oregon will see extremely dangerous fires at least until Monday, and the largest wildfires in the United States will continue to spread in dry forests.
Due to the dry and windy area, Bootleg fires increased significantly on Saturday night, but as firefighters began to gain more control on its west side, control of Hell more than tripled. However, the fire is still burning quickly and dangerously on its southern and eastern flanks, and the authorities have expanded evacuation in rural areas, mainly lakes and wildlife sanctuaries.
The fire area is 453 square miles (1,173 square kilometers), which is more than 100 square miles larger than the area of ??New York City.
Incident Commander Joe Hassel said: “This fire is so big and moving so fast that it spreads 4 to 5 miles every day.” “One of the many challenges our firefighters face every day is Work in a new country, and there may always be new dangers in this country.”
Extremely dry conditions and heat waves related to climate change have swept the area, making wildfires more difficult to extinguish. In the past 30 years, climate change has made the west warmer and drier, and will continue to make the weather more extreme, and wildfires more frequent and destructive.
In southern Oregon, firefighters have dealt with dangerous and extreme fire situations, including a huge “fire cloud” rising 6 miles (10 kilometers) above the fire site. Piracy fires have destroyed at least 67 houses and 117 outbuildings.
The fire has forced the evacuation of 2,000 people and threatened 5,000 buildings, including houses and smaller buildings, in rural areas north of the California border.
The Tamarack fire produced thick smoke over Lake Tahoe and Nevada.
The National Weather Service warned that there might be thunderstorms extending from the California coast to northern Montana on Sunday, and the “new lightning ignition” is likely to be due to extremely dry fuel in the western region.
Firefighters said in July that they are facing a more typical situation in late summer or autumn.
With new fires suddenly appearing or spreading rapidly in Oregon and California, this blaze is only two of the many fires burning in the drought-stricken western United States.
According to the National Interagency Fire Protection Center, there are 70 active fires and multiple fires in the United States that have burned nearly 1,659 square miles (4,297 square kilometers). The US Forest Service stated that at least 16 fires have occurred in the Pacific Northwest alone.
A fire in the mountains of northeastern Oregon is also spreading rapidly, reaching 17 square miles (44 square kilometers) on Saturday. The Elbow Creek fire started on Thursday and prompted the evacuation of several small rural communities around the Rio Grande Ronde, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Walla Walla, Washington.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act to mobilize more firefighters and equipment to help put out the fire.
The Dixie fire was located near the deadliest fire site in the United States’ recent memory in 2018. It was controlled by 5% on Saturday and covered 39 square miles. The fire broke out in the Feather River Canyon northeast of Paradise Town, California. The survivors of the terrible fire that killed 85 people watched the new fire burning vigilantly.
Officials ordered the evacuation of a wilderness recreation area and warned residents of the small eastern communities of Purga and Concor to prepare to leave.
“We are ready,” said Mike Garappo, a retired veteran. “We have been dealing with the fire on the mountain. We know it might not hit here, but we are prepared just in case.”
Flaccus reports from Portland, Oregon. Associated Press reporter Terry Chea of ??Belden, California, and Julie Walker of New York City contributed to this report.