In California, where eight fires are currently active, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday declared a state of emergency in four Northern California counties due to the hasty spread of flames.
Butte and Lassen counties are under states of emergency prompted by the state’s largest blaze — the Dixie fire — which has charred more than 142,000 acres, the governor said in a news release. The Dixie and Fly fires have pushed officials to put Plumas County under the emergency declaration as well as Alpine County due to the Tamarack Fire, which straddles the California-Nevada border, he said.
In Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Douglas County is under an emergency declaration because of the Tamarack Fire, which has burned more than 59,000 acres and was 4% contained as of Friday.
Officials alarmed over delays on the Tamarack Fire
It was initially allowed to burn because federal forest officials determined it wouldn’t be a threat.
But they were wrong.
The fire has destroyed nearly 60,000 acres and at least 10 structures in California and Nevada.
Nevada and California officials are questioning why the blaze wasn’t tamed when it was sparked July 4.
On Tuesday, the Tamarack Fire crossed the state line and into Douglas County, Nevada.
“Firefighters doing everything they can to stop this monster. Still can’t believe the USFS and Cal Fire let it grow from ¼ acre when it was first discovered,” he wrote.
The US Forest Service defended its decision, saying in a statement “The steep, rugged, and remote terrain presented challenges to safely suppress this wilderness fire” and added that resources were limited and had to be assigned to higher-priority fires, like the East Fork Fire.
On Thursday, Nevada also received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fight the fire after requesting assistance earlier that day.
“At the time of the request, the fire threatened approximately 800 homes in and around Holbrook Junction,” FEMA said Friday in a news release. “The fire also threatened a water treatment plant, power distribution lines and substations, cellular communications towers, and U.S. Highway 395.”
Wildfire smoke compromises air quality for millions
The smoke from the hundreds of wildfires in both the US and Canada has had an impact on millions far from where they’re burning
The smoke has traveled far and wide and is expected to continue causing health problems across the US.
Many areas in the Northwest and Rockies, where the wildfires are burning, are also under air quality alerts. On Friday, the smoke is expected to move south, passing over Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama, before it moves back to the Northeast.
CNN’s Alexandra Meeks, Sarah Moon, Stella Chan and Andy Rose contributed to this report.