Western wildfires burned an area four times the size of New York City. Here are some key fires

Originally Posted: JUL 12 21 13:06 ET

Updated: July 21, 21 3:26 PM ET

By Stella Chan, CNN

(CNN) – The National Interagency Fire Center says 55 big fires burned more than 768,000 acres in 12 states.

The area – approximately 1,200 square miles – is comparable to four times the area of ​​New York City.

From Jan. 1 to July 11 of this year, more than 1.8 million acres burned in 33,491 fires, according to the NIFC, exceeding the previous year’s tally for the same period.

The number of fires burned so far this year is the second highest after 39,459 fires in 2011.

Fires in the Golden State have charred thousands of acres, more than doubling the amount burned for the same period last year.

At least 73,511 acres burned in 4,599 fires from Jan. 1 to July 4, Cal Fire said last week. Comparatively, 31,111 acres burned in 3,847 fires in 2020.

“While wildfires are a natural part of the California landscape, the fire season in California and the West begins earlier and ends later each year,” according to the Cal Fire website.

Climate change is considered to be one of the main drivers of this trend. Warmer spring and summer temperatures, reduced snowpack, and earlier spring snowmelt create longer and more intense dry seasons that increase water stress on vegetation and make forests more vulnerable to severe forest fires. The length of the fire season is estimated to have increased by 75 days in the Sierras and appears to correspond to an increase in the extent of wildfires across the state. “

Below is an overview of some key fires:


Beckwourth Complex Fire: 86,076 acres, 20% contained

The complex includes the Dotta Fire and the Burning Sugar Fire in the Plumas National Forest.

The Dotta fire started on June 30 in the Beckwourth Ranger district, near Dotta Canyon.

The sugar fire began on July 2 in the Beckwourth Ranger district west of Sugarloaf Peak.

Both fires were started by lightning.

It is the largest fire in the state, and it is not known how many structures or houses have burned down, if any.

Evacuations have affected 3,061 people and 1,199 homes are under threat, according to fire intelligence spokesperson Mike Ferris. A total of 2,326 people are fighting the fire complex.

River fire: 4000 acres, 5% content

River fire burns near Yosemite National Park west of Highway 41 in Mariposa and Madera counties. The fire broke out on July 11.

Mandatory evacuations are in place in parts of both counties and at least 251 firefighters are battling the blaze.

“Firefighting efforts have been hampered by the hot, dry and windy conditions. The fire is burning in an oak / grass forest,” according to Cal Fire.

No more fires in California on the radar

Juniper fire: 1,011 hectares, 70% of which is contained in the Modoc national forest. Started July 5.

Lava fire: 25,409 acres, 75% contained, Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Started with lightning near Weed, Calif. On June 24.

Salt fire: 12,650 acres, 70% confined; Shasta-Trinity National Forest. No growth on weekends. Started June 30.

Tenants fire: 10,580 acres, 95% contained; Klamath National Forest. Started June 28.

Willow fire: 2,877 acres, 95% contained; Los Padres National Forest. Started June 17th.


Cedar pond fire: 714 acres, 0% contained

The blaze was started on July 9 by lightning strikes about 14 miles northeast of Wikieup, Arizona, and 20 miles northwest of Baghdad, Arizona.

New Mexico

Johnson Fire: 88,918 acres, 75% contained

Johnson’s fire began on May 20 and was caused by lightning, according to incident reports from Gia National Forest.


Fire contraband: 150,812 acres, 0% content

The fire began on July 6 in the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Klamath County.

The case is still under investigation.

Authorities believe the blaze will be fully contained near the California border by November 30.

Hot, dry and windy weather is hampering firefighting efforts, creating a fatal risk for area residents, according to an update on the incident.

The fire triggered a flexible alert from the California ISO for Monday. A flex alert is a request from users to save electricity when there is an anticipated shortage of energy supply.

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