Massive Wildfire Wreaks Havoc in US

Massive Wildfire Wreaks Havoc in US

( – As of July 6, large swaths of California, Oregon, and Washington began experiencing extreme (D3) or exceptional (D4) drought conditions, according to the Drought Monitor map provided by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Because much of that area is heavily forested, any spark source from irresponsible campers or faulty electric transmission lines to lightning strikes can set off extremely dangerous wildfires.

The largest fire in the country has been burning out of control and displacing residents since July 6 in Klamath County, Oregon. Dubbed the Bootleg Fire, it covered more than 200,000 acres (or roughly 312.5 mi.²) as of July 14. To put that in perspective, according to the 2010 census, the area covered by the city limits of Chicago is 228 mi.², Dallas/Fort Worth is 341 mi.², and San Diego comes in at 325 mi.².

This fire is only 5% contained. Over the past week, it has caused a huge wave of evacuations in the area, and officials have been working tirelessly to get it under control. The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for the area and warned of a HAINES 6 effect meaning “very dry and unstable conditions will support extreme fire behavior.”

According to a New York Times article published July 14, 67 large fires have burned more than 900,000 acres across the Western United States, with more than 14,000 personnel responding to battle them. It’s still early in the typical fire season, and in a story found on the Men’s Journal website, they describe the 2020 season as “egregious” and then add, “scientists believe this year might be worse.”

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