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‘Conditions they have never Seen Before’: Deadly wildfires ravage nearly 1 million acres of land across western US

Ailan Evans, DCNF

Wildfires in the Western U.S. have continued to rage as the area faces extreme temperatures and historic drought.

The fires have burned 993,678 acres so far, requiring more than 17,000 wildland firefighters and support personnel to contain the blazes, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The center on Wednesday elevated the National Preparedness Level for wildfires to 5, the highest level possible.

There are 71 active fires, according to the center, with only 5 fires contained. Idaho currently has the most active fires with 17.

Some fires have forced firefighters and support personnel to abandon their efforts and evacuate, according to The Washington Post.

The wildfires are partly a result of the record heat wave and extreme drought across the Western U.S., according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Over 60 weather stations in the region recorded their highest temperatures ever since June 1, according to the National Weather Service.

One fire, the Bootleg Fire in Oregon, has reached around 230,000 acres in size, doubling in size for three consecutive days, Axios reported.

“The fire behavior we are seeing on the Bootleg Fire is among the most extreme you can find and firefighters are seeing conditions they have never seen before,” Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Incident Commander Al Lawson said in a statement on the fire.

“This fire is going to continue to grow – the extremely dry vegetation and weather are not in our favor,” Joe Hessel, Incident Commander for the Oregon Department of Forestry, said in a statement.

Smoke from the fires reached southern Greenland, and is expected to reach mainland Europe tomorrow, according to Axios.

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