California and Arizona residents forced to evacuate as wildfires burn


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The western United States marked another day of hot, dry and windy weather on Monday as crews from California to New Mexico battled wildfires that had forced hundreds from their homes.

About 2,500 homes have been evacuated due to two wildfires on the outskirts of Flagstaff in northern Arizona, officials said at an afternoon briefing.

“We have all felt the pain of watching our beautiful mountain burn. We have recognized what an incredibly difficult time this is for those who have been evacuated and for those whose homes have been threatened,” the council chairwoman said. Coconino County watchdog, Patrice Horstman.


The wildfire prompted the county to declare an emergency. It was fed by high winds which grounded aircraft as a firefighting option. Crews expect to be able to use planes on Tuesday as winds moderate, authorities said.

Incident Cmdr. Aaron Graeser said the Flagstaff area fire is one of the nation’s top priorities for firefighting resources.

“Every potential fire source was a problem today, and every potential unburnt area was fire-receptive today,” Graeser said. “It puts us in an interesting situation of trying, again, to allocate resources as best we can based on that.”

Current conditions have also prevented fire managers from better mapping it from the air, but the fire is estimated at 8 square miles (20 square kilometers).

Crews were expecting wind gusts of up to 80km/h as they fought the blaze which burned parts of the footprint left by another spring blaze which destroyed more than two dozen homes as well as parts of other Fire Scars.

So far, one home and a secondary structure have been destroyed in the blaze first reported on Sunday, Deputy Sheriff’s Office Chief Bret Axlund said.

The Southwest has been ravaged by forest fires.

The Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort has closed as a precaution due to the wildfire – the second to hit the area this year.

“It’s literally like deja vu,” Coconino County Sheriff’s spokesman Jon Paxton said. “We are in the exact same place and doing the exact same thing as a month and a half ago. People are tired.”

Two other smaller wildfires northeast of the blaze were also burning on Monday.

Wildfires erupted in early spring in several western US states, where climate change and persistent drought are fueling the frequency and intensity of forest and grassland fires.

The number of square miles burned so far this year is more than double the national 10-year average, and states like New Mexico have already set records with devastating fires that have destroyed hundreds of homes while causing environmental damage that is expected to affect water supplies.


Nationally, more than 6,200 wildland firefighters were battling nearly three dozen wildfires that had charred more than one million acres (4,408 square kilometers), according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Even in Alaska, forecasters have warned that many southwestern fires have grown unusually large over the past week, which is unusual for that region. Southwest Alaska normally experiences shorter periods of high fire danger as intermittent rains can bring relief, but since mid-May the area has been hot and windy, helping to dry out vegetation. .

Favorable weather on Monday helped slow the progress of a tundra wildfire just over 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) from an Alaska Native village. Moderate temperatures and a shift in the wind that had pushed the fire towards St. Mary’s will allow firefighters to attack the flames directly and increase protections for the Yup’ik community.

The lightning-ignited fire is estimated to be around 193 square miles (500 square kilometers). It burns dry grass and shrubs in the mostly treeless tundra of Southwest Alaska.

A firefighter watches the fire burn in Wrightwood, California.

A firefighter watches the fire burn in Wrightwood, California.
(AP Photo/Ringo HW Chiu)

In California, evacuations have been ordered for about 300 remote homes near a wildfire that broke out over the weekend in forest land northeast of Los Angeles near the Pacific Crest Trail in the San Mountains. Gabriel.

The blaze had renewed growth on Sunday afternoon and by noon Monday had burned about 3.9 square kilometers of pines and dry brush, fire spokeswoman Dana Dierkes said.

“The fuel is very dry, so it acts like a ladder, carrying the flames from the bottom of the trees to the top,” Dierkes said. Crews also faced unpredictable winds that were expected to strengthen later in the day, she said.

Along with mandatory evacuations for some, the rest of the mountain town of Wrightwood, with about 4,500 residents, was under an evacuation warning. Several roads were also closed.

The fire was 18% contained.


Five people have been rescued from a dangerous area after a wildfire broke out Monday near Dulzura in San Diego County near the Mexican border and spread to nearly 600 acres (242 hectares), have announced the authorities.

Two of those rescued were taken to hospital, but there was no immediate news of how they were injured or their condition, firefighters said.

Fire conditions were high due to hot, dry weekend weather in Southern California. Monday was expected to be cooler, but another heat wave was expected midweek, the National Weather Service said.

In northern California, a 50-mile (80 km) stretch of State Route 70 was closed indefinitely Monday after mud, rocks and dead trees inundated lanes during flash flooding along a forest fire scar.

Several drivers were rescued Sunday evening from debris flowing down the highway when hillsides scorched by last year’s massive Dixie Fire broke away. No injuries were reported.

The causes of the latest fires in California were under investigation.


US Forest Service law enforcement officers cited a 57-year-old camper for lighting burning toilet paper and placing it under a rock on Saturday near the origin of the Arizona wildfire. The fire was reported a day later. Court documents show the man told authorities he tried to put out the fire with his sleeping bag, but his attorney said in federal court on Monday that did not mean his client was responsible for the fire. ‘fire.

Flagstaff resident Janetta Kathleen rode her horse, Squish, up a hill to get a better view of the wildfire on Sunday night and watched as it stalked toward homes in the shadow of the mountain. His house is not directly on the fire road, but his family, two bulldogs and horses are ready to leave at any time.

“I need to know what’s going on because I have decisions to make for my family,” she said. “If the tides turn, we’ll be in trouble.”

A wildfire burns on the outskirts of Flagstaff.

A wildfire burns on the outskirts of Flagstaff.
(AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

Hikers, campers and others enjoying the forest also had to leave on Sunday. A shelter has been set up in a college.

High winds sent embers down U.S. Route 89, the main road leading to the Grand Canyon’s East Rim entrance spur, through the Navajo Nation and into Utah. Many people commute between the reservation and Flagstaff for work. Parts of the highway remained closed on Monday.

“We are not working directly on fire suppression to extinguish everything at this time,” said Coconino National Forest spokesperson Brady Smith. “That is not our goal and it is not possible at the moment. At the moment we will focus on protecting life and property.”

Smoke from the fire near Flagstaff caused hazy skies in Colorado on Monday, obscuring views of the Rocky Mountains from Denver and other towns along the state’s Front Range.


Meanwhile, firefighters worked to contain a small juniper and pinion pine forest fire that briefly prompted evacuation orders on Sunday in the Rio Grande National Forest in the San Luis Valley in the south from Colorado.

The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for high fire danger in central and southern parts of Colorado as well as parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Winds are expected to ease after Monday with some moisture moving later this week into parts of the southwest, the weather service said.


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