Wildfires in Canada and the United States: Emergency in the West

Wildfires in Canada and the United States: Emergency in the West

dIt is smoked by wildfires in the western United States and Canada as far as the east coast of the US. While plumes blew skyscrapers some 5,000 kilometers from the fire zones and caused unusual sunrises, health officials in large cities such as New York, Washington and Philadelphia warned of pollutants in the air. For example, for Manhattan, the Air Quality Index (AQI) showed a value of 157 on Wednesday. At a value of 100, air quality is especially unhealthy for the elderly, the pre-ill and pregnant women, and at a value of 150, the effect can be felt by healthy people as well. In total, meteorologists issued warnings for more than 40 million Americans.

In the west of the country, thousands of firefighters tried to control about 80 fires. The California Dixie Fire, which broke out north of Sacramento nine days ago, spread over 370 square kilometers as of Thursday. As reported by the California Forest and Fire Protection Agency (Cal Fire), this has so far been limited to only 15 percent. About 900 homes and stables in Butte and Plumas districts were still threatened by flames on Thursday. Strong gusts of wind blew away the flames from heaven, which had been almost completely destroyed by the camp fire three years earlier. Butte County Sheriff on Wednesday ordered evacuations for the west shore of Lake Almanor, about 70 kilometers away, which has been covered in clouds of orange smoke for days. Under the collection of photos, “apocalyptic,” wrote photographer Jake Edwards, who lives in the area, on Facebook.

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The tamarind fire also kept burning uncontrollably. After a heat wave of recent weeks and a historic drought, it spread to about 180 square kilometers in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest on the border with the state of Nevada as of Thursday. Cal Fire used firefighters and helicopters. Nevertheless, officials reported till Thursday that the fire could not be brought under control. The biggest fire of the 2021 fire season so far, the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, has meanwhile grown to nearly 1,500 square kilometers, an area larger than Los Angeles. At least 2,000 residents of the rural area had to leave their homes, and about 170 buildings burned down. Meteorologists point to the enormous speed of bootleg fires, fueling the emergence of their own weather phenomena such as pyrocumulus clouds of soot, also known as clouds of fire.

The province of British Columbia in western Canada declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, after nearly 300 wildfires raged. “We are preparing for a mass evacuation scenario,” said Mike Farnsworth, provincial public safety minister. Dozens of fires were caused by lightning in British Columbia over the past few weeks, with record temperatures set for summer bells in the west of the country. The village of Litton, where the highest temperature in Canada was recorded at 47.9 degrees Celsius, was gutted. Over the past few days, the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario have also reported dozens of wildfires. To prevent further outbreaks, Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghbra has now announced that the speed of trains will be reduced to temperatures above 30 degrees. Train drivers were obliged to report minor fires along the route in the future.

In Northern California, where overhead lines are frequently fueled by faulty fires, utility company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has announced it will lay more than 15,000 kilometers of pipeline underground. “We want a secure solution in the end,” said PG&E boss Patricia Pope during a visit to the Butte district on Wednesday. Due to insufficiently maintained power lines, a fire broke out at the camp in the autumn of 2018, killing 85 people and destroying paradise. The Dixie fire that is now burning in the area is also likely due to faulty lines.

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