Hundreds of fires are currently spreading in the western United States and Canada, with dozens of fires added in the last few days alone. One of them, the so-called “river” fire, is spreading rapidly near the famous Yosemite National Park in the US state of California.
The wildfire spread rapidly over an area of 32 square kilometers, as announced by the Power Call Fire on Monday afternoon. Hundreds of residents had to leave their homes. The fires destroyed five buildings. Nearly 500 assistants put out the fire in the Maribosa and Madeira districts, about 30 kilometers from Yosemite National Park.
For a reason not yet known, a severe summer temperature of 42 degrees Celsius was measured in the region on Sunday. For days, people in California and other western US states have been affected by the heat waves. Continuous drought increases fire risk. In California alone, authorities listed a dozen major fires on Monday.
Yosemite Park was due to close in the fall of 2020
In September 2020, Yosemite National Park had to be closed to visitors for a week because of heavy smoke in the area. Yosemite Valley in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, famous for its waterfalls and majestic granite rocks, attracts millions of visitors each year.
According to the National Interactive Fire Center, nearly 60 wildfires in the United States are extinguished from dry wood and from Alaska to Wyoming. Arizona, Idaho and Montana were responsible for more than half of the major fires. There are significantly more back in Canada: officials say there have been 50 more fires in the past two days alone, with a total of about 300 fires spreading in the region. Rail connections have also been shut down for fire safety reasons: Forest fires are caused by uncontrolled flying sparks due to improper maintenance.
The fire broke out after the area was hit by dangerous temperatures for the second time in weeks. Drought and fire are even more dangerous, scientists say, for climate change.
The largest fire in the United States, called the Bootleg Fire, is located not far from the California border, southwest of the U.S. state of Oregon. It doubled over the weekend, threatening about 2,000 homes, according to the fire department. At least seven houses and more than 40 buildings were burned.
The National Weather Service recently noted that the heat wave has now peaked in many areas.
Excessive heat warnings often have to expire by Tuesday.