Thunderstorms and lightning threaten more fires in the western United States | US news
An explosive summer of wildfires in Oregon threatens to escalate further, as thunderstorms and lightning are expected to spur more fires that have engulfed much of the parched western United States this year.
more than There are 80 major forest fires in western states right now, covering a common area similar to that in Delaware, with the largest fire known as the Bootleg Fire, A 537-square-mile fire Burning in tracts of ancient woodland 300 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon.
Scientists say the human-caused climate crisis is fueling the fires by contributing to scorching temperatures and dry and combustible vegetation. Almost all of the western United States is in the grip of a severe drought that has flooded reservoirs, including those used to fight fires.
The “thermal dome” that recently settled over the Pacific Northwest, releasing record heat in Seattle and Portland that twisted roads, melted power cables, and killed hundreds of people, would have been “impossible” without global heating, according to the Subsequent scientific analysis.
“The relationship between climate change here is quite clear — the fires are related to the very dry and hot conditions that have been around for a month now,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University.
“This is dangerous climate change. Not two decades have passed from now, or a decade from now. For Oregonians, it is here and now.”
The situation could worsen for firefighters struggling to contain the Bootleg Fire, with lightning expected to strike and possibly ignite forests near Fremont-Winema National Forest, where the fire is currently burning.
“Although lightning activity early this week is expected to occur east of us, we are prepared for the worst, and hopeful for the best,” said Mike McCann, assistant chief of fire in the forest.
The Bootleg Fire, now roughly the size of Los Angeles, is so large and hot that it creates its own weather system, causing winds that push burning embers into the trees and further spread the flames. The fire has been burning for two weeks, and barely a third of its perimeter has been contained by firefighting crews.
At least 2,000 homes have been evacuated as the fire progresses, and several hundred buildings have already been reduced to ashes. Winds push the fire farther to the north and east.
If the fire had been in densely populated parts of California, “it would have destroyed thousands of homes by now,” said James Johnston, a researcher at the Oregon State University College of Forestry who studies historical wildfires.
“But it’s burning in one of the most remote areas in the lower 48 states.”
However, smoke from the Bootleg fire has billowed into Canada, while smoke from other fires across the western United States has raised concerns about air quality in many cities.
On Tuesday, New York state officials warned people at risk to stay indoors due to geyser air pollution from wildfires that have spread across the United States to the East Coast. The smoke caused residents of New York City, 2,000 miles from the fires, to witness a fiery sunrise on Tuesday.
Last year set a record for the amount of land consumed by wildfires in the western US, but some experts expect 2021 to pass that mark given that the fire months of late summer and early fall are yet to come.
Joe Biden urged Congress to pass climate legislation to help slow the fires that are increasingly sweeping the country, and the president warned that disasters show America “needs to act fast.”