Wildfires have destroyed more than 73,000 acres across 3 states and are spreading fast


Fire crews work to battle the Grizzy Creek Fire as it shoots down the ridge into No Name Canyon in the afternoon after the fire initially started Monday on Interstate 70, near Glenwood Springs, Colo., on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (Chelsea Self/Glenwood Springs Post Independent via AP)

Firefighters across three Western states are battling wildfires that have destroyed more than 73,000 acres.

Evacuations orders have been issued in areas threatened by the Lake Fire in California’s Los Angeles County, the Mosier Creek Fire in central Oregon, and the Pine Gulch and Grizzly Creek fires in Colorado.

More than 100 homes have been evacuated in the rugged hills near Lake Hughes in LA County as that blaze has exceeded 10,000 acres. Three structures have been destroyed, and more than 5,000 others are threatened, according to the LA County Fire Department.

The fire was 0% contained on Thursday morning, a day after it was reported, fire officials reported.

“Overnight firefighters continued to provide structure defense with ground crews as well as providing aerial fire suppression,” according to an incident update Thursday from the LA County Fire Department. “Today, hot air temperatures in the 90s to 100s, lower relative humidities, and drying fuels will bring elevated fire weather conditions.”

Cloud cover and higher humidity are expected Thursday, which could help contain the fire, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said. Friday’s forecast is hotter and drier, posing more of a risk. Those conditions will likely last well into next week.

More than 1,000 fire personnel have been assigned to control the blaze, fire officials said, and evacuation centers were set up at a high school and a sports complex.

Heat builds in other wildfire zones

In neighboring Oregon, the Mosier Creek Fire has also prompted evacuations. Several large air tankers were en route to help control the blaze, which by Thursday had consumed about 500 acres, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Central Oregon District.

The heat is just building there and will last into the beginning of next week, Guy said, along with dry conditions.

In Colorado, the Pine Gulch Fire had consumed more than 58,000 acres by Thursday morning, with only 7% containment, fire officials reported.

Less than 100 miles away, the Grizzly Creek Fire had destroyed more than 4,600 acres by Thursday, according to the US Forest Service. The fire, which ignited Monday, crossed the Colorado River and Interstate 70 on Wednesday, prompting the interstate to shut down east of Glenwood Springs.

“This fire is in a really tough spot, and it’s really tough to fight,” White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said Wednesday during a community briefing.

Nearly 900 people are working to contain the two fires. “We’re going to be here for a while,” Fitzwilliams said.

Colorado is heating up as well, Guy said, with high temperatures for the next seven days. A chance of daily rain in the region could bring some relief, but with it comes the risk of new fires from lightning.

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