The fires caused power outages, destroyed structures and prompted the deployment of the Oregon National Guard.
In Oregon – where eight fires burned nearly 475,000 acres – officials said the current fire season was unlike any they had seen before.
“I would characterize this fire season so far historic in terms of how many resources we’ve deployed, how many times we’ve deployed – over a three week period we’ve mobilized for six conflagrations – and this is the oldest and largest mobilization to date, ”Mariana Ruiz-Temple of the Oregon Fire Marshal’s Office said Tuesday.
Advisories of high fire potential and activity have been issued in Idaho, California, Oregon and the Northern Rockies, according to the NIFC.
It’s not just the fires in the United States that are contributing to the smoky haze. The Canadian province of British Columbia has declared a state of emergency due to wildfires that go into effect on Wednesday. Nearly 300 active forest fires have been reported in the province.
Bootleg Fire is the largest in the country
In Oregon, triple-digit record high temperatures and severe drought have devastated parts of the state.
“There is absolutely no doubt that climate change is playing out before our eyes,” Brown said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We saw the heated dome event a few weeks ago; unfortunately we lost a lot of Oregonians because of this event. In February we saw devastating ice storms, over half a million people lost electricity last fall, as you well know; we “I have had unprecedented forest fires.”
He said it’s possible that an additional 50,000 to 100,000 acres could burn before the Bootleg Fire is contained.
“The future for us for the remainder of the season continues to look above dry par and above par,” said Graffe. “So it’s not going to be back to normal anytime soon.”
CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said red flag warnings in the region will continue until Wednesday, signaling dry and windy conditions with lots of smoke. After Thursday, the skies will clear up, which could help slow the spread of the fire.
In the aftermath of the fires, 62 members of the Oregon National Guard were deployed, along with Blackhawk helicopters to provide water drops, fire spots and medical support, Maj. Gen. Michael said. E. Stencel, adjutant general of the Oregon National Guard.
In addition to fueling fires, Oregon’s hot, dry conditions also impact Christmas trees grown in the state.
“It is killing them,” said Jacob Hemphill, a Christmas tree grower in Clackamas County, of the relentless heat this summer. “It’s horrible, there is nothing we can do.”
Unusually warm temperatures and severe drought this year have caused irreversible burns on many trees, reducing the number of trees to choose from in the upcoming holiday season as well as potentially higher prices, growers said.
Dixie fire in California may have been started by electrical equipment
The Dixie fire is so intense it produced a thunderstorm, incident meteorologist Julia Ruthford said in a briefing Monday night. “The fire actually generated a thunderstorm on itself which caused lightning in front of it and really gusty and erratic winds due to these extreme and extreme conditions due to the thunderstorm above it,” said she declared.
Evacuations have been ordered in the area and the fire has already destroyed two structures and threatened more than 800 others.
In a preliminary filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E detailed an outage alert on July 13, the same day the fire started. A utility worker who responded found three blown fuses and a tree leaning against a pole, with a small fire on the ground near the base of the tree.
The blaze was reported to authorities and California Fire and Protection dispatched aerial firefighters to extinguish the flames, which had grown from an initial estimate of 1 to 2 acres to 10 to 15, according to the filing.
Since then, the blaze has grown exponentially, burning in “remote areas with limited access and steep terrain,” Cal Fire said, hampering crew access to the ground.
A lightning strike near the community of Markleeville, in Alpine County, Calif., Sparked the blaze, which triggered mandatory evacuations for a number of campgrounds and neighborhoods in the area, and caused road closures.
CNN’s Chris Boyette, Brisa Colon, Cheri Mossburg, Melissa Alonso, Andy Rose, and Kendall Lanier contributed to this report.