Pacific Northwest wildfires burn 600,000 acres in WA, OR
SEATTLE – State fire assistance was authorized for two wildfires in Okanogan County on Tuesday, as firefighters tackle more than a dozen major fires across Washington and Oregon.
The Cedar Creek fire, which burned near Mazama, ignited on July 8 and charred more than 8,000 acres. On Tuesday, it was only 11% content. Burning east near Winthrop, the Cub Creek 2 fire has swept over 32,000 acres since it ignited last Friday. According to the US Forest Service, this fire was only 5% under control on Tuesday afternoon.
Cub Creek 2 Fire pyrocumulus clouds were visible from Seattle on Monday, over 160 km away.
On Tuesday morning, the North West Interagency Coordination Center said 16 large fires were burning uncontrollably in the Pacific Northwest, including nine in Oregon and seven in Washington.
In southern Oregon, the Bootleg Fire reached an area of 400,000 acres on Tuesday and remains the largest forest fire currently underway in the United States. Firefighters called for more outside help, as the threat of lightning added to the already extreme fire conditions. Firefighters estimated the blaze was 30% under control, but said the flames remained “extremely active”. Despite being in a remote part of the state, the massive wildfire burned at least 70 homes and thousands more remain at risk.
Wildfires in the West are having an impact on air quality across the country; Western Washington is clear for now
Smoke from wildfires in the west already reached the east coast on Tuesday, prompting a statewide air quality advisory in New York City. In Washington, Puget Sound is expected to avoid smoke strikes for now. East of the Cascades, the negative impacts on air quality were particularly pronounced in the areas closest to the Okanagan forest fires.
In response to the increase in wildfires, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources said it will close state-managed lands in the Northeast and Southeast regions to the public on Friday. .