A state of emergency has been declared in British Columbia, as thousands of firefighters battle at least 566 wildfires burning across the Canadian province.
More than 3,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes, and 18,000 have been told to prepare to leave at a moment's notice. So far this year, there have been more than 1,800 fires in the province, scorching 939,000 acres. Firefighters have come from as far away as Mexico and New Zealand to help battle the blazes.
"We're going to throw everything we've got at these fires, but in a lot of cases, Mother Nature is going to be in the driver's seat," Kevin Skrepnek, British Columbia's chief fire information officer, told reporters Thursday. There isn't any rain in the forecast, and the smoke is causing a layer of haze across British Columbia and into Seattle. British Columbia's public safety minister, Mike Farnworth, told reporters the fire season is starting earlier, and "the bulk of the fires, what we have seen this year, have been lightning-caused." Catherine Garcia
Smoke from California's catastrophic wildfires is spreading across the country to New York City, a National Weather Service model shows. The particles are about a mile above the surface and will generally not affect air quality on the ground.
— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) August 10, 2018
California is presently dealing with three of the state's 30 largest fires on record. The Mendocino Complex Fire, now encompassing more than 300,000 acres, is California's largest fire ever.
"The trends are pretty astounding in terms of the number of acres burned, the length of the wildfire season, the numbers of structures lost," Kelly Pohl, a research analyst with Headwaters Economics, told The New York Times. "If you look at the trends over several decades, they've all gone up."
Another person was killed by California's massive Carr Fire Saturday, officials reported, bringing the death toll to seven. The most recent victim was a power company lineman whose identity has not been made public. The wildfire has burned more than 155,000 acres in a two-week span, displacing 35,000 people and destroying more than 1,500 buildings.
Meanwhile, the Mendocino Complex, a pair of fires about 150 miles south of the Carr Fire's Redding-area burn zone, exploded to cover 230,000 acres by Sunday morning.
Can't believe I'm saying this again for second time in less than a year, but #MendocinoComplex/#RanchFire (201,000 acres) stands real chance of becoming largest #wildfire in California history. Previous record set just last winter (yes, winter) during #ThomasFire. #CAwx #CAfire pic.twitter.com/vynA8mthOY
— Dr. Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) August 5, 2018
The Carr Fire in northern California has burned more than 130,000 acres in a two-week span, killing six people, displacing 35,000, and destroying more than 1,500 buildings. And it all started with a flat tire.
A "tire failed last month on a trailer and its rim scraped the asphalt," CNN reported Saturday. "The sparks that shot out July 23 from that minor incident, California fire officials said, ignited what is now the sixth-most destructive wildfire in state history."
As of Saturday, the Carr Fire is 39 percent contained, and firefighting reinforcements are coming to California from as far as New Zealand. "Whatever resources are needed, we're putting them there," said California Gov. Jerry Brown. "We're being surprised. Every year is teaching the fire authorities new lessons. We're in uncharted territory."
Watch footage of the wildfire's total destruction below. Bonnie Kristian
James Roberts, 5, and Emily Roberts, 4, were trapped by a wall of flames with their great-grandmother, Melody Bledsoe, 70, on their family's property near Redding. "I didn't think the fire could cross the river. Within 15 minutes, it burned my house down," said Eddy Bledsoe, Melody's husband. "She took care of me and them kids like we were a team," he said of his wife. "Every day, every day of her and my life, I told her, 'I want to thank you for being my lady.'"
Two firefighters were previously killed by the blaze. One, Ray Smith, was a bulldozer operator who was clearing vegetation, and the other, Jeremy Stoke, was a Redding fire inspector. More than a dozen other people are missing.
About 500 structures have been destroyed in the Carr Fire, and another 5,000 are still threatened. "I don't know why it's doing what it's doing," said Cal Fire chief Steve Crawford. "It's burning in every direction all at the same time. ... It's burning as if it's got strong wind on it even when there's no wind." The fire is just 5 percent contained.
Two other fires started about 100 miles southwest of Redding on Friday, and California is dealing with a total of 14 large wildfires in locations across the state. President Trump declared a state of emergency Saturday so the counties affected are eligible for federal help. Bonnie Kristian
California's 48,000-acre Carr Fire has killed two of the 3,400 firefighters battling the blaze in and around the city of Redding. The wildfire began just six days ago, sparked by the "mechanical failure of a vehicle," local authorities said. It has been exacerbated by low humidity and high winds, with gusts creating "firenadoes" capable of overturning cars.
"I couldn't even describe it other than it was the apocalypse," said Redding resident Justin Montes. "It was exactly what that would be like — intense heat."
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 27, 2018
The fire is "taking everything down in its path," said Scott McLean, a representative of the firefighters at the site, describing the situation as "a heck of a fight." Nine other people are missing, and 38,000 have evacuated their homes. About 500 structures have been destroyed, and another 5,000 are still threatened. The fire is just 5 percent contained. Bonnie Kristian
California's Klamathon Fire "exploded" to cover 30,000 acres by Sunday morning, tripling in size from Friday night and crossing the state line into Oregon. The blaze has already killed one person and destroyed 15 buildings. It is just 25 percent contained as of Sunday, and authorities said the Klamathon blaze is exhibiting "extreme fire behavior with movement in multiple directions."
#KlamathonFire [update] off Klamathon Road and Copco Road, south of Hornbrook (Siskiyou County) is now 30,500 acres and 25% contained. Evacuations in effect. Unified Command: @CALFIRESKU, @SiskiyouSheriff, @ORDeptForestry https://t.co/MNW31CJqMV pic.twitter.com/bxb4sZPnIU
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) July 8, 2018
Additional fires are raging in elsewhere in California, particularly in the hot and windy southern region of the state. Thousands of people have been evacuated as temperatures climb well over 100 degrees. Bonnie Kristian
At least 1,600 homes have been evacuated in response to growing wildfires in southwestern Colorado, near Durango. The fires began in San Juan National Forest on June 1 and since then have burned 14 square miles. So far, no houses have been destroyed and there are no casualty reports.
A deep trough across the western U.S. is bringing strong winds and cool temperatures across the region. This has produced critical fire weather threats in the southwest, snow above 5500 feet adjacent to severe storm warnings in the northern Rockies/Plains, and Freeze Warnings. pic.twitter.com/jD9sxTblc3
— NWS (@NWS) June 9, 2018
Nearly 700 firefighters have been dispatched to fight the flames, which are exacerbated by drought conditions and strong winds throughout the Four Corners region where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado intersect. As of Saturday, the fires were 10 percent contained. Bonnie Kristian