Wildfires in the West shutting down highways, forcing thousands to evacuate

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 7/10/2017

Wildfires are raging across swaths of the western portion of the United States and Canada as a scorching heat wave moves across the country. Several wildfires in California have forced thousands to evacuate and have shut down nearby highways.

Two wildfires in California, Wall Fire and Alamo Fire, have burned nearly 35,000 acres as of press time. Wall Fire in Butte County was only 35 percent contained on Monday morning, and Alamo Fire was at 15 percent containment. Wall Fire has threatened 5,400 structures, destroyed 17 and damaged five. Alamo Fire, although five times larger, has threatened 133 structures and destroyed one.

According to Cal Fire, Wall Fire is burning at Chinese Wall Road just north of Bangor. Roads and areas around Highway 162 have been affected by evacuation orders or warnings. The Alamo Fire off of Highway 166 near Twitchell Reservoir has shut down Highway 166 from Highway 101 to New Cuyama and Twitchell Canyon Road from Highway 166 to Santa Maria Mesa Road.

Whittier Fire at Camp Whittier near Lake Cachuma, Calif., has shut down Highway 154 from State Route 246 to Foothill Road. Evacuation warnings are in place in areas near Highway 101.

Meanwhile in Washington State, Dry Creek Fire is burning approximately 400 acres five miles north of Husum, Wash. State Route 141 is closed from BZ Corner to Trout Lake.

In Arizona, SH Creek Fire is at 60 percent containment and has already burned 3,048 acres as of press time. The fire is located 30 miles south of Alpine, Ariz., 40 miles north of Clifton, Ariz., and just east of U.S. Highway 191. Highway 191 is closed on Monday, July 10, from mile marker 225 at Blue Vista Overlook to mile marker 201 at Red Mountain Overlook but is expected to reopen on Tuesday, July 11, at 6 a.m.

And in Oregon, the Ana Fire west of Ana Reservoir near Summer Lake, Ore., has overtaken 3,200 acres and is only at 5 percent containment. Travelers on Highway 31 between Summer Lake and Paisley should be aware of intermittent road closures due to decreased visibility from smoke and emergency response vehicles in the area.

North of the border in British Columbia, Canada, more than 200 wildfires were burning across the providence, according to BC Wildfire Service. For more information about British Columbia fires, click here.

According to The Weather Channel, California is just coming down from two separate heat waves, with nine consecutive days in triple-digit temperatures late June. Saturday, July 8, marked the sixth consecutive day of scorching temps in the latest heat wave.

A heat wave from the northern Plains to the northern Rockies and Great Basin has caused major drought issues for the Dakotas and Montana. The Midwest is also expected to endure parts of the heat wave. Parts of Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Iowa were under a heat advisory on Monday, July 10, according to the National Weather Service. In Kansas City, the heat index was 102 degrees at about 2 p.m. on Monday.

Copyright © OOIDA