Friday September 24th, 2021 1:25AM

Western wildfires: California blaze crosses into Nevada

By The Associated Press

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. (AP) — A Northern California wildfire crossed into Nevada, prompting new evacuations, but better weather has been helping crews battling the nation’s largest blaze in southern Oregon.

The Tamarack Fire south of Lake Tahoe had burned more than 68 square miles (176 square kilometers) of timber and head-high chaparral in national forest land. It erupted July 4 and was one of nearly two dozen blazes sparked by lightning strikes.

More than 1,200 firefighters were battling the Alpine County blaze, which has destroyed at least 10 buildings, forced evacuations in several communities and had closed parts of U.S. 395 in Nevada and California. Fire officials expected active or extreme fire behavior on Thursday, which could see 14 mph (23 kph) winds and temperatures approaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius).

A request for voluntary evacuations was also issued for portions of Douglas County, Nevada. An evacuation center was set up at a community center in Gardnerville, Nevada.

Evacuee Morgana-Le-Fae Veatch said she already had boxed up most of her belongings because she is starting community college next week but her parents lost their house in a 1987 blaze.

“So this has been really, really stressing to them," she said.

To the northwest, the summer fun of boating and bathing came to an abrupt end for vacationers at Lake Almanor as the Dixie Fire spread up the west flank of the Sierra Nevada, expanding to more than 162 square miles. The west shore of the resort lake and many other small communities were under evacuation orders.

Meanwhile, Oregon on Wednesday banned all campfires on state-managed lands and in state campgrounds east of Interstate 5, the major highway that is commonly considered the dividing line between the wet western part of the state and the dry eastern half.

The nation’s largest wildfire, Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, grew to 624 square miles (1,616 square kilometers) — just over half the size of Rhode Island.

However, authorities said lower winds and temperatures allowed crews to improve fire lines. The fire also was approaching an area burned by a previous fire on its active southeastern flank, raising hopes that lack of fuel could reduce its spread.

The Oregon fire, which was sparked by lightning, has ravaged the sparsely populated southern part of the state and had been expanding by up to 4 miles (6 kilometers) a day, pushed by strong winds and critically dry weather that turned trees and undergrowth into a tinderbox.

Fire crews have had to retreat from the flames for 10 consecutive days as fireballs jump from treetop to treetop, trees explode, embers fly ahead of the fire to start new blazes and, in some cases, the inferno’s heat creates its own weather of shifting winds and dry lightning. Monstrous clouds of smoke and ash have risen up to 6 miles (10 kilometers) into the sky and are visible for more than 100 air miles (161 kilometers).

The blaze, which is being fought by more than 2,200 people, is more than one-third contained.

At least 2,000 homes were ordered evacuated at some point during the fire and an additional 5,000 were threatened. At least 70 homes and more than 100 outbuildings have burned, but no one is known to have died.

Extremely dry conditions and recent heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight. Climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2021
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Western wildfires: California blaze crosses into Nevada
A Northern California wildfire has crossed into Nevada, prompting new evacuation orders, but better weather is helping crews battling the nation’s largest blaze in southern Oregon
12:44AM ( 11 minutes ago )
AP source: Texas, Oklahoma talk to SEC about joining league
Texas and Oklahoma have had discussions with the Southeastern Conference about leaving the Big 12
12:41AM ( 15 minutes ago )
What is a COVID-19 vaccine 'breakthrough' case?
A small number of COVID-19 “breakthrough” cases are expected after vaccination, and health officials say they’re not a cause for alarm
12:04AM ( 52 minutes ago )
U.S. News
China 'shocked' by WHO plan for COVID-19 origins study
A senior Chinese health official says China cannot accept the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of a study into the origins of COVID-19
12:33AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Death rates soar in Southeast Asia as virus wave spreads
Images of bodies burning in open-air pyres during the peak of the pandemic in India horrified the world in May, but in the last two weeks three Southeast Asian nations have surpassed India’s peak per capita death rate as a new coronavirus wave tightens its grip on the region
12:33AM ( 22 minutes ago )
The Latest: 2 more Olympic athletes test positive in Tokyo
Four more residents of the Olympic Village, including two athletes, have tested positive for COVID-19
12:18AM ( 37 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: US beats Canada 1-0 for 2-0 start in softball
The United States has beat Canada 1-0 for a 2-0 start in Olympic softball
11:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Ceremony director out over Holocaust joke
The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee has fired the director of the opening ceremony because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998
11:20PM ( 1 hour ago )
Weinstein pleads not guilty to sexual assaults in California
Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles courtroom to four counts of rape and seven other sexual assault counts
11:08PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
PG&E will spend up to $30 billion burying power lines
Pacific Gas & Electric plans to bury 10,000 miles of its power lines in an effort to prevent its fraying grid from sparking wildfires when electrical equipment collides with millions of trees and other vegetation
8:13PM ( 4 hours ago )
Federal judges block transgender restrictions in 2 states
Federal judges have temporarily blocked new laws in Arkansas and West Virginia restricting transgender people's rights
8:07PM ( 4 hours ago )
Experts: Spend opioid settlement funds on fighting opioids
Public health experts are citing the 1998 settlement agreement with tobacco companies as a cautionary tale ahead of the expected $26 billion settlement with opioid producers
7:50PM ( 5 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
AP source: Texas, Oklahoma talk to SEC about joining league
Texas and Oklahoma have had discussions with the Southeastern Conference about leaving the Big 12
12:41AM ( 15 minutes ago )
What is a COVID-19 vaccine 'breakthrough' case?
A small number of COVID-19 “breakthrough” cases are expected after vaccination, and health officials say they’re not a cause for alarm
12:04AM ( 52 minutes ago )
Biden admin stepping up community grants from COVID bill
President Joe Biden’s administration says it is making $3 billion in economic development grants available to communities — a tenfold increase in the program paid for by this year’s COVID-19 relief bill
12:03AM ( 53 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: As wildlife smoke spreads, who's at risk?
Smoke from wildfires in the western U.S. and Canada is blanketing much of the continent and reaching unhealthy levels this week in communities from Washington state to Washington D
12:02AM ( 54 minutes ago )
Judge: $150M initially for victims in Florida condo collapse
A judge says victims and families who suffered losses in the collapse of a 12-story oceanfront Florida condominium will get a minimum of $150 million in compensation initially
11:25PM ( 1 hour ago )