Wildfires in the west

Wildfires in the west

Rachel Nelson, Reporter

The wildfires in the west have been destroying homes and lives since it they were discovered on July 23 in Oregon. It is believed to have started as a result of a lightning strike.

The states that are reporting wildfires include California, Colorado, Washington, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and Arizona.

Health warnings have been issued in cities from Seattle to Denver, as well as many school districts cancelling outside activities.

80 large fires were burning in 2,200 square miles in many Western states.

A 16-square mile fire east of Portland forced hundreds of local residents to evacuate their homes. Winds caused embers from Oregon to travel to Washington and start fires there.

Authorities had just minutes to warn residents in Oregon as the fires grew at an alarming rate Monday night. They believe the blaze was started by a 15-year old boy and his friends using fireworks. A suspect has been identified, but no arrests have been made.

The most fire activity is found in California, Oregon and Montana. As of September 6, 2017, there are a reported 65 active wildfires in the West. The most can be found in Montana, who has 23 wildfires, and Oregon, which has 19 wildfires.

The acreage burned because of the fires is now at 1,483, 343 acres. There have only been nine fires contained so far.

 

These fires have been blocking out the sun behind thick layers of smoke and depositing ash on freshly fallen snow.

Montana, one of the hardest hit states, has had almost a million acres burned since the start of summer. Officials say that this is one of the top five worst fires in the state’s history.

The largest fire in Montana is the Rice Ridge fire, which has burned 108,126 acres as of Tuesday, is only 2% contained. The massive blaze in Seeley Lake has burned numerous homes and buildings and has turned the once popular vacation spot into a ghost town.

Two firemen have been killed fighting the fires in Montana. Trenton Johnson, who was 19, died fighting the Florence Fire near Seeley Lake in July, and Brent Whitham, 29, who died fighting the Lolo Peak Fire in August.

 

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