Story at a glance
- Nationally, more than 90 active wildfires have consumed close to 814,000 acres so far and just four are considered contained.
- Wildfires have burned more than 6.6 million acres nationwide to date in 2022.
- Currently the largest fires are in Oregon, California and Idaho.
Extreme weather conditions across the American Northwest, including triple-digit temperatures, drought and high winds, have led to dozens of notable wildfires — four were identified Sunday alone.
Nationally, more than 90 active wildfires have consumed close to 814,000 acres so far and just four are considered contained. Agencies in seven Western states – California, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming are currently battling large fires.
Fires have burned more than 6.6 million acres nationwide to date in 2022, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The agency said the situation has been exacerbated by low humidity and lightning.
Federal officials previously pointed out that climate change is leading to intensifying droughts, which makes wildfires worse than predicted.
“Climate change is leading to conditions on the ground we have never encountered,” Forest Service chief Randy Moore said in June.
Here are four of the largest active fires.
Double Creek Fire
The Double Creek Fire near Oregon’s northwest border with Idaho began with a lightning strike on Aug. 30. It is 15 percent contained and, to date, has engulfed more than 155,000 acres. This has led to numerous road closures and evacuations.
State officials determined on Sept. 3 that the fire had grown beyond the fire control capabilities of local agencies, and Gov. Kate Brown invoked Oregon’s Emergency Conflagration Act. The governor’s move permits the State Fire Marshal to coordinate with other agencies and use outside sources to combat the blaze.
Authorities expect to fully contain the Double Creek Fire by Oct. 31.
Idaho’s Moose Creek fire in Salmon-Challis National Forest, one of at least 33 large fires in the state, has burned since July 17, growing to nearly 126,000 acres over the weekend. The state’s active large fires have engulfed 248,456 acres thus far.
The Moose Creek fire, which officials believe has a human source, is around 37 percent contained. Authorities estimate it will be fully contained by Oct. 1.
Authorities expect a change in weather beginning Monday afternoon, “bringing clouds, increasing humidity, possible erratic wind, and a decent chance of rain heading into the week.”
Several areas within Salmon-Challis National Forest have been closed due to the fire.
Cedar Creek Fire
The Cedar Creek Fire near Oakridge, Oregon – 40 miles south of Eugene – began Aug. 1 due to a lightning strike. The blaze, one of ten active large fires in the state, has burned nearly 86,000 acres.
Officials said Sunday that the fire, one of nine across the state, grew by 32,000 acres over the weekend and breached existing lines, moving containment to zero percent.
About 2,230 homes and 443 commercial structures remain threatened by the fire, officials added.
“The Cedar Creek Fire grew rapidly towards Oregon communities this morning, and the fire’s growth potential in the coming days is troubling, requiring additional resources to battle the fire and support the state’s response,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in statement Sept. 9, invoking the state’s conflagration act.
“This is a good reminder that conditions can change quickly, and that fire knows no bounds.
Evacuations are in place in Lane and Deschutes Counties and closures are in effect for Waldo Lake and Three Sisters Wilderness.
Northern California’s Mosquito Fire has torched close to 47,000 acres in its first six days – consuming more than 3,000 acres in the past day alone.
“Despite cooler temperatures, the historically dry fuel moisture in the vegetation continues driving the fire’s growth,” according to CalFire.
The agency added that the expected clear air Monday afternoon could lead to increased fire activity as seen in recent days. So far, the fire, one of 12 large active blazes in the state, is ten percent contained.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in El Dorado, Riverside and Placer counties due to fires, including the Mosquito Fire. Officials are still investigating the fire’s origin.
The state has recorded nearly 6,300 fire incidents so far in 2022.