UNITED STATES. California: The modest homes and shops of the Klamath riverfront village in California were destroyed by California’s worst and deadliest wildfire of the year. A deadly combination of intense heat, parched vegetation and dry conditions has turned the 55,000-acre blaze in the Klamath National Forest into its own force of nature.
Despite modest headway made by firefighters who took advantage of thunderstorm-induced rain that briefly reduced the temperature in the arid, burnt territory close to the Oregon border, the McKinney Fire that started last Friday still has not been brought under control.
The wildfire, which is the largest of three wildfires raging in the Klamath National Forest, has destroyed more than 88 square miles (228 square kilometres).
Firefighters were able to use bulldozers to create firebreaks along a ridge to safeguard homes and structures in the county seat of Yreka on Tuesday because the fire didn’t spread.
Nevertheless, at least four bodies have been discovered in the area, 100 buildings, including homes and greenhouses, have burnt, and several thousand people are still under evacuation orders.
Sadly, as wildfires grow more intense in the Western United States, the destruction of a small community has increased in likelihood. Homes in Montana, Idaho, and Nebraska have been destroyed by wildfires, which also pose a threat to nearby settlements.
Just four years ago, an enormous fire in the Californian foothills of the Sierra Nevada nearly destroyed the town of Paradise in Butte County, killing 85 people.
According to scientists, the West has become warmer and drier over the past three decades due to climate change, and this trend will continue to increase weather extremes and the frequency and destructiveness of wildfires.
When it started, the McKinney Fire had only a few hundred acres, and firefighters believed they could put it out soon. But soon after that, a thunderstorm cell arrived with violent wind gusts that propelled it into an uncontrollable firestorm within hours.
The fire destroyed most of the residences, including those in a trailer park, the post office, community centre, and other dispersed businesses.
Root cause of the McKinney Fire remains unknown
A fire that erupted on Friday in northwest Montana near the town of Elmo on the Flathead Indian Reservation has destroyed some buildings. However, officials said they weren’t immediately sure if any of them were residences.
Fire officials said that the incident was 10 per cent contained on Tuesday and covered an area of 25 square miles (66 square kilometres). Monday’s gusty afternoon winds forced several residents to leave because of the fire.
More than 220 square kilometres (85 square miles) of the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho have been burned by the Moose Fire, which also poses a threat to nearby houses, mining operations, and fisheries. According to the National Interagency Coordination Center, it was 23% contained as of Tuesday.
Additionally, a blazing wildfire in northwest Nebraska forced residents to flee and damaged or burned many homes close to the small city of Gering.
On Saturday, two separate flames combined to form the Carter Canyon Fire. By Tuesday, it had been contained to more than 30%.