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Two California Wildfires Merge, Threaten Thousands of Homes


A firefighter passes a burning home as the Dixie Fire flares in Plumas County, Calif., July 24, 2021.

Thousands of homes in Northern California are under threat from two wildfires that recently merged, as dozens of other fires continue to burn across the western United States.

Officials say more than 10,000 homes are under threat, and evacuations have been ordered around Lake Almanor, a popular resort area, after California’s largest blaze, the Dixie Fire, merged over the weekend with the Fly Fire.

Authorities say the two fires have already destroyed nearly 180 square kilometers of forest and brush in Plumas and Butte counties north of Sacramento, California.

The fires are part of 86 wildfires burning in 12 states, mostly in the West. They have burned more than 553,000 hectares in recent weeks, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

The nation’s largest fire is the Bootleg Fire in Southern Oregon, which has burned through 1,657 square kilometers of land. Fire officials say that blaze is about half contained, with more than 2,200 firefighters battling the flames.

FILE - Firefighters search for hot spots on the northeast side of the Bootleg Fire, near Sprague River, Ore., July 14, 2021.
FILE - Firefighters search for hot spots on the northeast side of the Bootleg Fire, near Sprague River, Ore., July 14, 2021.

In Montana, five federal firefighters remain hospitalized after strong winds blew a wildfire toward them last week. Officials said Sunday that the five are in stable condition after sustaining burn injuries.

The wildfires across the U.S. have coincided with record-setting heat in parts of the country. The Pacific Northwest saw temperatures over 40 C last month, with Seattle, Washington, hitting 42 C and Portland, Oregon, reaching nearly 47 C.

Forecasters are predicting another heat wave this week across much of the continental United States.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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