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Western wildfires have burned an area 4 times the size of NYC. Here are some key fires

The acreage — about 1,350 square miles — is comparable to four times the area of New York City.

From January 1 to July 11 this year, over 1.8 million acres have burned in 33,772 fires, according to the NIFC, surpassing the previous year’s tally for the same period.

Fires in the Golden State have charred thousands of acres, more than doubling the amount burned for the same time frame last year.

According to updated data from California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on Monday, over 103,000 more acres have burned this year through July 11 compared with the same period in 2020. And there have been 4,991 fires, up nearly 700 from a year ago.

“While wildfires are a natural part of California’s landscape, the fire season in California and across the West is starting earlier and ending later each year,” according to Cal Fire’s website.

Climate change is considered a key driver of this trend. Warmer spring and summer temperatures, reduced snowpack, and earlier spring snowmelt create longer and more intense dry seasons that increase moisture stress on vegetation and make forests more susceptible to severe wildfire. The length of the fire season is estimated to have increased 75 days across the Sierras and seems to correspond with an increase in the extent of forest fires across the state.”

Below is a roundup of some key fires:


Beckwourth Complex Fire: 91,200 acres, 26% contained

The Complex comprises the Dotta Fire and Sugar Fire burning in the Plumas National Forest.

The Dotta Fire started June 30 on the Beckwourth Ranger District near Dotta Canyon.

The Sugar Fire started July 2 on the Beckwourth Ranger District west of Sugarloaf Peak.

Both fires were ignited by lightning.

This is the largest fire burning in the state, and it is not clear how many structures or homes have burned, if any.

Evacuations impacted 3,061 people and 1,199 residences are threatened according to fire information spokesperson Mike Ferris. A total of 2,326 personnel are battling the fire complex.

An air tanker drops retardant to keep the Sugar Fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex Fire, from reaching the Beckwourth community of unincorporated Plumas County, California, on Friday, July 9, 2021.
'We have to act and act fast:' Biden says climate change is driving wildfires and historic heat wave

River Fire: 9,000 acres, 10% contained
The River fire is burning near Yosemite National Park west of Highway 41 in Mariposa and Madera counties. The fire started July 11.

Mandatory evacuations are in place in parts of both counties and at least 1,300 fire personnel are battling the blaze.

“Firefighters continue to aggressively attack the fire while dangerous heat persists. Low humidity, tree torching, wind driven runs and frequent spot fires continue to challenge firefighters,” Cal Fire said on the incident page.

More California fires on the radar

Juniper Fire: 1,011 acres, 80% contained in the Modoc National Forest. Started July 5.

Lava Fire: 25,203 acres, 77% contained, Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Started by lightning near Weed, California, on June 24.

Salt Fire: 12,650 acres, 85% contained; Shasta-Trinity National Forest. No growth over the weekend. Started June 30.

The Tennant and Willow fires were brought under full containment as of Monday night after burning more than 13,000 acres combined.


Cedar Basin Fire: 734 acres, 75% contained

The fire was started July 9, by lightning about 14 miles northeast of Wikieup, Arizona, and 20 miles northwest of Bagdad, Arizona.

New Mexico

Johnson Fire: 88,918 acres, 75% contained

The Johnson Fire started May 20 and was caused by lightning, according to incident reports from the Gia National Forest.


Bootleg Fire: 153,535 acres, 0% contained

The fire started July 6 on the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Klamath County.

The cause is still under investigation.

The Bootleg Fire started July 6 on the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Klamath County.

Officials estimate full containment of the fire near the California border by November 30.

Hot, dry, windy weather is hampering firefighting efforts, creating life-threatening risk to area residents, according to an incident update.

The fire prompted a flex alert from California ISO for Monday. A flex alert is a request for users to conserve electricity when there is an anticipated shortage of energy supply.

Grandview Fire: 4,000 acres

The Deschutes Sheriff’s Office ordered residents to evacuate all homes north of Holmes Road due to the fire burning near Bend Monday night.

“This is a Level 3 (Go Now!) Evacuation Notice for all homes north of Holmes Road due to a wildfire. There is immediate and imminent danger and you should evacuate immediately. Leave immediately and as quickly as possible,” the Deschutes Sheriff’s Office said in a post on Twitter.

The fire is burning on private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Crooked River National Grassland managed by the US Forest Service, according to the Grandview Fire update post.

Deschutes County is located more than 180 miles south of Portland.

CNN’s Hollie Silverman and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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