Offbeat Western U.S. wildfires spread as gusty winds persist

20:15  13 june  2018
20:15  13 june  2018 Source:   reuters.com

Colorado wildfire spreads as winds strengthen

  Colorado wildfire spreads as winds strengthen A stubborn Colorado wildfire grew by around a fifth on Saturday and was expected to continue to grow Sunday, consuming sparsely populated land as low humidity and high winds left firefighters bracing for it to spread, officials said. An additional 220 homes were evacuated Saturday, said Megan Graham, a spokeswoman for La Plata County, Colorado.The total number of homes evacuated during the fires burning in southwest Colorado has reached more than 1,300 residential structures, Graham said, and the fire had burnt more than 8,691 acres, according to the last aerial survey, early Saturday, she said.

Extreme drought and winds topping out around 90 mph have created perilous wildfire conditions from Colorado to Oklahoma. “The storm system is forecast to arrive in the Northeast Thursday morning, with rain falling from New York to Boston and snow in upstate New York and western Pennsylvania.

CREDIT: U . S . Forest Service. Wildfires fueled by dry weather and scorching temperatures have smothered parts of the western United States in smoky, ashy air, forcing communities Gusty winds helped spread several, sending a layer of smoke and a downpour of ash onto Portland and Seattle.

a plane flying in the air with smoke coming out of it: A helicopter works the wildfire on the east side of Hermosa Cliffs near Hermosa, Colo. June 9, 2018. Wildfires in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona force closure of large chunks of forest

Gallery by USA Today

Prime conditions for wildfires prevailed again on Wednesday in the western United States, where firefighters are battling to gain control over several large blazes that have forced the evacuation of more than 4,400 homes.

The largest and most threatening blaze, the 416 Fire, has scorched nearly 26,000 acres (10,522 hectares) of drought-parched grass, brush and timber at the edge of the San Juan National Forest near the southwestern Colorado town of Durango.

Wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour (40 kph), temperatures in the mid 80s (about 30 Celsius) and humidity of less than 15 percent are expected later on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

Category 3 Hurricane Bud heads north off Mexican coast

  Category 3 Hurricane Bud heads north off Mexican coast Hurricane Bud has grown to Category 3 force off Mexico's Pacific coast, but forecasters say it's likely to weaken significantly before a possible brush with the resort-dotted southern tip of the Baja California peninsula late in the week. The U.S. National Hurricane Center say Bud has maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph).The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Bud had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph) Monday morning. It was centered about 235 miles (380 kilometers) southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, and was moving northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).

Firefighters battling home-threatening wildfires in the West caught a break overnight as gusty winds died down but with the region bracing for sweltering heat, Saturday' s respite could be brief, authorities said.

PlayMarcio Jose Sanchez/AP. WATCH Wildfires spread as conditions worsen in California. Parts of California will be at an enhanced risk of wildfire ignition this week amid record-breaking heat and gusty winds , meteorologists said.

Fire crews by Wednesday morning had contained 15 percent of the fire, fire officials said.

Some 2,150 homes there remained under evacuation orders and residents of another 500 homes were advised they might have to flee at short notice, La Plata County officials said.

The 416 Fire and a separate blaze burning nearby, the Burro Fire, also prompted state parks officials to close several wildlife areas to the public. The U.S. Forest Service shut down all 1.8 million acres (728,434 hectares) of the San Juan National Forest to visitors on Tuesday.

Across the state about 60 miles (95 km) west of Denver, a newer blaze called the Buffalo Fire prompted the evacuation of nearly 1,400 homes after blackening 100 acres (40.5 hectares), officials in Summit County said. Winds will gust up to 25 miles per hour later on Wednesday to fan this fire, officials said.

Firefighters battle Colorado wildfire under dry, hot conditions

  Firefighters battle Colorado wildfire under dry, hot conditions Firefighters battling a raging wildfire in southwestern Colorado faced more hot, dry conditions and gusty winds on Tuesday, officials said. The 416 Fire has already forced people to flee about 2,000 homes in the 11 days since it started while pre-evacuation notices were issued for another 127 homes on Monday, officials in La Plata County said.© REUTERS A satellite image shows the 416 Wildfire burning west of Highway 550 and northwest of Hermosa, Colorado Temperatures would reach the mid 80s Fahrenheit (around 30 Celsius) and winds up to 25 miles (40 km) an hour on Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service said.

But this is a full-suppression wildfire ,” he said. As he spoke just west of the Animas River, winds were picking up, gusting to 35 mph, kicking up thick smoke. A wildfire broke out near Bennett Sunday, quickly drawing firefighters as it spread toward four homes. South Metro Fire and Rescue Slurry

Gusty winds will enhance the potential for wildfire ignition and rapid spread . Critical fire conditions are forecast in part of Arizona and southeastern Utah to New Mexico, Colorado, northwestern Texas, western Oklahoma, western Kansas and southwestern Nebraska.

At least seven major wildfires were raging in parts of Colorado, marking the biggest concentration of roughly 30 blazes burning across nine Western states.

No people have been injured or structures lost in the Colorado fires.

Firefighters were hoping for some relief from a promising shift in weather patterns forecast for Friday, some of it associated with Hurricane Bud off the Pacific coast of Mexico.

In southern Wyoming near the Colorado border, the Badger Creek Fire in Medicine Bow National Forest has grown to 5,200 acres (2,104 hectares), as evacuation orders were expanded to nearly 400 homes in Albany County, according to the Inciweb online U.S. fire information service.

By Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Fire Department said residents of about 90 homes that had been ordered to evacuate were allowed to return as a fire north of tony Beverly Hills was 40 percent contained. The fire on Tuesday night had burned about 40 acres (16 hectares), the department said. (Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale; editing by John Stonestreet and Bill Berkrot)

California utility takes $2.5 billion charge for wildfires .
A Northern California utility says it will take a $2.5 billion charge for expected losses in connection with deadly wildfires that whipped through the state's wine country in October.Pacific Gas & Electric Co. also warned Thursday that its liability could be considerably higher after state fire officials determine the cause of 21 major fires that rampaged throughout Northern California, killing 44 people and destroying thousands of homes and businesses.

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