Air quality plummets as smoke from roaring wildfires chokes US west, California firefighters are battling large blazes across the state as the west’s fire season heats up, covering swaths of Oregon, Washington, California and Canada in heavy smoke that has also traveled across the US.

Air quality plummets as smoke from roaring wildfires chokes US west

Rain from tropical storm Kay brought relief to firefighters in southern California after a punishing heatwave gripped much of the state for more than a week and sent some crews to the hospital. In northern California, a large wildfire continues to threaten thousands of mountain homes in the foothills east of Sacramento and has forced the evacuation of 11,000 people. Air quality plummets, The Mosquito fire has scorched nearly 65 sq miles (168 sq km) and is 10% contained, according to the California department of forestry and fire (Cal Fire), the state’s firefighting agency. “Cooler temperatures and higher humidity assisted with moderating some fire activity”, but higher winds allowed the flames to push to the north and north-east, according to a Cal Fire incident report Sunday. The fire has sent smoke over a large portion of the northern Sierra region. California health officials urged people in affected areas to stay indoors where possible. Lake Tahoe, more than 50 miles away from the fire, is facing some of the worst effects, with smoke producing unhealthy to hazardous air quality in the region. For the second year in row, organizers of the Tour de Tahoe canceled the annual 72-mile bicycle ride scheduled for Sunday around Lake Tahoe because of heavy smoke. Smoke from the Mosquito fire and a wildfire burning in Oregon has moved across the country, the meteorologist Scott McGuire, with the National Weather Service’s Reno office, told SFGate.

“It’s not as thick as it is here, but it has traveled across the entire United States,” he said. “I can see it clear as day on the satellite loop that it’s moving all the way across to northern parts of Canada, too There’s so many small fires out there contributing to this. It’s quite remarkable in a bad way.” In British Columbia, wildfires prompted air quality warnings and forced thousands of people to evacuate, including a camp of 350 workers on the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project. There are 193 active wildfires burning in Canada’s westernmost province. Vancouver is under an air quality warning due to high concentrations of fine particulate matter caused by wildfire smoke, some of which was being blown north from the US. The city had the worst quality in the world on Sunday, according to the World Air Quality Index. Seattle was also experiencing its worst air quality in years, the Seattle Times reported. In California, the Mosquito fire is threatening more than 5,800 structures in Placer and El Dorado counties and several communities, including Foresthill and Georgetown, were under evacuation orders. In Foresthill, a family-owned store has stayed open to provide essentials to first responders. Air quality plummets, In southern California, cooler temperatures and rain brought respite to firefighters battling the massive Fairview fire about 75 miles south-east of Los Angeles after a record heatwave last week. Crews have achieved 45% containment on the 44-sq-mile blaze, which has destroyed at least 30 homes and other buildings in Riverside county. Two people died while fleeing flames last Monday.

A helicopter assisting with operations in the Fairview fire crashed in a residential backyard while attempting to land at a local airport Saturday afternoon, fire officials said. Injuries to the pilot and two others were not critical. Southern California finally saw cooler temperatures this weekend, but also flood warnings, as the tropical storm helped put an end to the blistering heat that had nearly pushed the state’s power grid to its limit before Kay largely disappeared. In Death Valley national park, remnants of Kay caused flooding on Saturday that stranded about 40 vehicles and closed a stretch of State Route 190. The park was still cleaning up from floods five weeks ago that closed many key roads.Air quality plummets, In the state’s far north, crews have made significant progress on a pair of destructive blazes. The Mill fire, which killed two people and destroyed dozens of homes, is 95% contained while the 21-sq-mile Mountain fire is 60% contained. Meanwhile, fire officials in Washington state were scrambling to secure resources in the battle against a blaze sparked on Saturday in the remote Stevens Pass area that sent hikers fleeing and forced evacuations of mountain communities. There was no containment on Sunday of the Bolt Creek fire, which had burned nearly 12 sq miles of forestland about an hour and a half east of Seattle.

Source: This news is originally published by .theguardian

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