23 people rescued from a hiking trail in Colorado as wildfires rage across the western US – CNN
At least 42 people have died in wildfires in Washington, California, Idaho and Oregon this year, according to a count by CNN.
In Oregon, one person remains missing, nine people have died and 4,003 homes have been destroyed in fires that have burned 1.2 million acres this season.
Further south, red flag warnings remain for parts of Northern California, which has already seen fires that have burned a historic 4.1 million acres.
New fires sparked in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico over the weekend, burning tens of thousands of acres and prompting evacuations.
Containment of largest wildfire decreases as fire grows
The Cameron Peak Fire in Colorado has scorched 204,404 acres as of Tuesday morning, with containment decreasing as the fire continues to grow.
Containment had reached 62% Monday morning but decreased to 51%, according to the incident overview report.
Firefighters used aircraft in their battle Monday and “were finally able to go on offense,” Incident Commander Dan Dallas said in a post on the Cameron Peak Fire Facebook page
A red flag warning will begin in the area at noon Wednesday and continue until Thursday morning, according to the post.
The blaze — the largest the state has ever seen — started August 13 on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests near Cameron Pass and Chambers Lake. No other fire has ever reached 200,000 acres in Colorado.
Some 1,542 fire personnel are battling the fire, which has been fueled by high winds combined with critically dry conditions. Fire personnel have estimated that containment could be reached by November 8.
Thirty-one people have died in the fires and more than 9,200 structures have been destroyed, the update said.
Some 7,400 firefighters are still fighting on the frontlines of 22 wildfires across the state of California as of Monday, with 12 of them being considered “major incidents,” according to the update.
Over the weekend, 47 new initial attack wildfires required firefighter response, according to the update.
The fire threat is still elevated across the northern part of the state, with a Fire Weather Watch in effect from late Monday night through Wednesday morning, the update said.
“Above normal temperatures and lack of humidity recovery will persist this week in much of California, with only the coastal regions experiencing some relief,” the update said.
“Parts of Northern California are under red flag warnings and a fire weather watch today as temperatures are warming up in the region to a high 15-20 degrees above normal,” CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said. “This, combined with low relative humidity values and strong offshore winds, will increase the risk of wildfires to start and can cause rapid spread of the fires.”
“The only relief coming for the West will be a front pushing through this Thursday – Friday,” Guy said.
High winds and temperatures fueling Luna Fire in New Mexico
The Luna Fire in New Mexico’s Carson National Forest has burned 9,000 acres as of Monday evening, according to the US Forest Service. The wildfire is 0% contained.
Dry weather and gusty winds are expected, along with above-normal temperatures — conditions that make firefighting more difficult.
The Luna Fire was first reported burning Saturday night at an elevation of up to 11,000 feet above sea level, according to InciWeb.