Heat warnings have been issued for parts of Utah and red flag warnings — indicating conditions are ripe for wildfires — are in effect from Montana south into Colorado, according to CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen. (See related article, “California Drought Breeding More Wildfires,“ for additional weather-related information.)
Here are a few of the recent fires caused or exacerbated by the extreme heat:
Dog Head Fire
National Park Service. Photo, Public Domain
A wildfire in central New Mexico recently burned more than 16,000 acres of timber and logging zones, and forced hundreds of residents to evacuate. The so-called Dog Head Fire broke out about six miles northwest of the town of Tajique, which is approximately 30 miles southeast of Albuquerque.
The blaze destroyed 24 single-family homes near the small community of Chilili in Bernalillo County soon after it erupted last Wednesday, said John Helmich, a spokesman for the team of 600 firefighters battling the fire.
The Sherpa wildfire in Southern California quickly tripled in size and forced officials to close a portion of the 101 Freeway, a major corridor for vacation travelers near California’s coast. More than 8,000 acres in Santa Barbara County has been burned. At least 270 homes and businesses were under evacuation orders, as well as campgrounds and state beaches, according to Kerry Bierman, a spokeswoman for the joint operations center fighting the fire.
The blaze ignited in a wilderness area northwest of Santa Barbara, according to the InciWeb fire information center, and has primarily consumed chaparral and tall grass in the Los Padres National Forest.
San Gabriel Complex
Hundreds of firefighters and workers with the U.S. Forest Service have trekked into the foothills of Los Angeles to try to contain the spread of the Fish Fire and Reservoir Fire — being treated as a single conflagration, called the San Gabriel Complex Fire — but the intense heat has made it extremely difficult.
These fires have burned nearly 5,000 acres in the foothills and mountains north of the San Gabriel Valley, according to fire officials. High winds have been fanning the flames, and rocky terrain has made moving around the hillside challenging. (See related article, “San Gabriel Fires Could Merge,“ for additional information.)