West Coast Wildfires, September 2020

10 Sep 2020


Numerous wildfires are blazing across the West Coast of the U.S. Twenty deaths have been reported, with more expected.

3 million acres have burned in California this fire season. Wildfires initially broke out in California mid-August during an intense heatwave, including the fires in the SCU Lightening Complex, which have burned 396,624 acres and the LNU Complex, which have burned 363,220 acres. The August Complex fires in the Mendocino National Forest, now designated as the largest wildfire complex in the state’s history, have burned 736 square miles of land. The fire complex started on August 17 and is 24% contained. Currently, Santa Anna winds are stroking old and new fires across the state. Over 14,000 firefighters are deployed to fight 28 fires. The Creek fire, burning in the Sierra National Forest in Fresno and Madero Counties, has burned since September 4 but is still 0% contained. The fire is so hot it is generating its own weather patterns, including the production of thunderhead clouds, which further fuels the fire. Approximately 361 structures have been damaged or destroyed, and more than 14,000 are threatened by the fire. The North Complex includes fires such as the Bear Fire, now renamed the North Complex West Zone, that have damaged or destroyed over 2,000 structures and threaten an additional 22,000. The Bobcat fire, burning in the Angeles National Forest, has burned 19,796 acres since its start on the 6th, and has prompted evacuation orders in six San Gabriel Valley foothill communities.

Large wildfires are currently burning across Washington and Oregon as well.  There are more than 36 active wildfires in Oregon, 5 of which are larger than 100,000 acres. Statewide, over 500,000 people have been ordered to evacuate. Two large fires are threatening to merge in Clackamas County, south of Portland. Fires destroyed much of the communities of Detroit and Blue River in the Cascades, and Talent and Phoenix in southwest Oregon. Almost 600,000 acres have burned in the state of Washington from wildfires such as the Pearl fire and the Cold Springs fires which have each burned more than 170,000 acres.

For more information on wildfires in California, visit CAL FIRE at https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/

For Oregon, visit the Department of Forestry at https://www.oregon.gov/odf/fire/Pages/firestats.aspx

For Washington, visit the Washington State Department of Natural Resources at https://www.dnr.wa.gov/Wildfires


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