In more climate news, Northern California’s Dixie Fire has become the state’s largest blaze this year after it exploded in size in recent days due to high winds and hot, dry temperatures. California fire officials said the blaze had merged with the smaller Fly Fire over the weekend as they continue to rage through Butte and Plumas counties, forcing residents to evacuate. Dozens of structures have been destroyed, with thousands more at risk. As of Sunday, both the Dixie and Fly fires had burned a combined over 195,000 acres. Meanwhile, Oregon’s Bootleg Fire has destroyed more than 400,000 acres. Oregon Governor Kate Brown said the climate crisis is “a hammer hitting us in the head.”
Gov. Kate Brown: “We’re going to see more of these wildfires. They’re hotter. They’re more fierce and, obviously, much more challenging to tackle. And they are a sign of the changing climate impacts. In the last year, Oregon has had four federal emergency declarations. … Climate change is here, it’s real, and it’s like a hammer hitting us in the head. And we have to take action.”
At least 86 active large wildfires in the U.S. have scorched nearly 1.5 million acres. This comes as another searing heat wave is set to hit much of the country this week, including the Pacific Northwest, the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains.