A rapidly growing forest fire in Northern California led to evacuation orders, highway closures and the cancellation of a bicycle event – as the threat of “dry lightning” caused red flag warnings to be issued across the state.
The big picture: Tamarack Fire, south of Lake Tahoe near the Nevada border, is among 70 major fires burning over one million acres in the United States, nine of them in California. It comes when another heat wave seizes the country, this time with intensity focused on the northwestern and northern areas.
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What happens: The Tamarack fire was driven by “gusts of wind” and “critically dry fuel” as it burned unresolved near the town of Markleeville, according to a statement from the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest. It has leveled about 21,000 acres after being ignited by lightning on July 4th.
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for several nearby areas, forcing Death Ride to cancel its extreme cycling event through the Sierra Nevada on Saturday, according to a statement posted on its website.
“The fire left thousands of motorcyclists and spectators stranded in the small town and drove to get out,” reports AP. The fire saw part of Highway 89 near the intersection with Highway 4.
A red flag warning was also in effect for the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon, currently the largest wildfire in the United States – which grew to 281,208 acres and was 22% contained Saturday per. InciWeb.
By the numbers: There were 17 forest fires in Idaho, 13 in Montana, nine in Oregon, seven in Washington state, six in Alaska, four in Arizona, two in Wyoming and one piece in Colorado, Utah and Minnesota, statistics from the National Interagency Fire Center show.
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