Fire alerts are in place once again as potentially record breaking heat continues to bring problems to the desert Southwest. In combination with extreme drought, fire danger is a prominent threat to the western United States. There are hundreds of thousands of acres already burning, mainly in Utah and Arizona, with evacuations still ongoing for many.
Fire weather alerts are in place across the Great Lakes region on Friday for gusty winds and dry conditions. We’ve seen storms in the areas in the previous days, but not enough to make a huge difference in our fire danger.
For the Pacific Northwest, we’re dealing with more fire danger into the weekend. This carries into the southwest as well. Thunderstorms with more lightning than rain, could spark wildfires in many locations. If you see smoke, please report it.
Pack Creek Fire
The Pack Creek Fire began on June 9th due to a campfire that was left unattended last week. Always remember, if it’s too hot to touch it’s too hot to leave. At least 3 structures have burned down because of this fire and soot and smoke particulate was falling over some people’s homes as far as Grand Junction, CO.
Multiple homes are in the path of the fire, along with infrastructure that provides services to rural Utah communities. Firefighters are working hard to keep the fire at bay.
With cloud cover and lower daytime temperatures over most of the #PackCreekFire area today, crews were able to limit the fire's spread by only 88 additional acres for a total of 8,531 acres. The fire is now 36% contained. pic.twitter.com/DA2jSl5Np7
— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) June 17, 2021
Another large fire is burning near Helper, Utah. There is a secondary fire nearby, the Bennion Fire, that is now over 8,000 acres with 41% containment.
Fire fighters are battling this fire from the ground and the air, using buckets to drop water over the fires.
An SH-H3 fighting the #BearFire loads its tank from a mobile retardant plant. This Type 1 helo can drop hundreds of gallons of retardant or water with each trip, working closely w/ ground crews. #blmgl #FireYear2021
CREDIT: Richard Shaw, Red Dog Communications pic.twitter.com/NlbCZPd5ar
— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) June 15, 2021
Mescal and Telegraph Fires (Arizona)
The Telegraph Fire is now almost 2 weeks old and continues to burn in southern Arizona. Late Tuesday night (June 15, 2021), it jumped containment lines and more communities were forced to evacuate. Unfortunately, the containment of the fire (amount of the fire perimeter drawn) has dropped. It is now the 6th largest in Arizona state history.
Fire activity has reduced to moderate levels but with gusty winds, low humidity and scorching hot temperatures rapid fire growth can still be expected.
Smoke from fires burning across the four corners region will reduce air quality in many locations. Check your local offices for air quality information.
The #RobertsonDrawFire continues to burn in #Montana as it has grown to around 2,000 acres since it originated on Sunday. Stay with @WeatherNation as we watch this fire and other burning throughout the West. #mtwx pic.twitter.com/azPRyBrAiT
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) June 16, 2021
The Robertson Draw Fire near Red Lodge in southern Montana continues to burn. Evacuations are in place for this large wildfire. It is up to 21,000 acres as of Wednesday morning.
The fire weather outlooks for today (Friday) and Saturday highlight many areas of concern across most of the interior West.
For the latest on the fires, be sure to tune into WeatherNation 50 minutes past the hour during your west regional forecast.