Large fires are burning in the PNW, mostly in Washington and Oregon after starting in dry and hot conditions last week. Gusty winds have fueled the flames which have produced thick smoke blanketing the Northwest.
A lightning outbreak last week helped to spark new fires in Oregon, including the Tyee Ridge fire near Rosebud. The fire is expected to grow over the next few days prompting more evacuations and more are anticipated. The fire is estimated at 2000 acres with 5% containment and over 400 fire fighters battling the blaze.
Additional large fires in Oregon include: The Flat Fire, Bedrock Fire and Lookout Fire have all grown in containment over the past week. According to officials "the Flat Fire started south of Agness, Oregon, near Oak Flat Campground on July 15, 2023. The human-caused fire is burning through several old fire scars on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest." The fire to watch will be the Lookout Fire as it is only at 17% containment and high fire conditions could still spread the flames.
Over 2600 fire fighters are battling the Smith River Complex fire on the California/Oregon border. It is now the largest active fire in the United States, over 70k acres and 6% contained. Evacuations remain in effect for this rural portion of northern California. 'According to fire officials, "the fires outside previous fire scars are burning in timber with heavy accumulations of available dead surface fuels with ample snags, downed logs, and ladder fuels in an old-growth forest landscape. The fires burning within fire scars consists of shrubs and grass, snag patches, and abundant amounts of dead and down." Cooler air and high moisture should minimize fire activity in the next few days.
Due to the extremely dense and thick smoke in the area, air quality alerts are in effect for much of northern California and Oregon.
Containment on the Gray and Oregon Road fire burning around Spokane has grown over the weekend. Both fires are over 10k acres and there are 1000 fire fighters working on the two fires. The Gray fire forced the closure of I-90 when it began on Friday, August 18th. I-90 is back open but the community of Medical Lake is still under evacuation orders.