July 14 (UPI) — An increase of dry winds on Wednesday could bring more trouble for crews fighting wildfires in the Western United States, where more than 60 are still burning across several states.
Gusts of up to 35 mph, soaring temperatures near 105 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity falling to 7% are forecast for the Pacific Northwest.
More than 16,000 firefighters in Northern California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho are on the front lines, fighting to control the flames.
“More than one million acres have burned in 68 large fires and complexes across 12 states.” the National Interagency Fire Center said Wednesday.
The largest blaze in the United States is the Bootleg Fire in Oregon, which has so far blackened more than 200,000 acres. The fire has destroyed more than 50 structures and almost two dozen homes.
Residents in at least one town in Washington state have evacuated and Madera County, Calif., has declared a state of emergency as a result of the River Fire, which has burned 9,500 acres — and is less than 20% contained.
Air quality alerts have been issued from Colorado to Minnesota as smoke from the fires has swept across the region
Drought conditions have contributed to the spread of the fires, spurred by record-breaking heat in recent weeks.
On Monday, the National Weather Service in Seattle reported the fourth consecutive week without measurable rain.