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Nearly 90 large fires scorch homes and roads across US amid heatwave

 Jul 19, 2022

Nearly 90 large fires are currently burning across the United States as it braces for more heat and dry weather
Large wildfires are currently scorching the United States as it braces for more heat and dry weather (Pictures: AP)

Dozens of large wildfires are burning across the country, destroying homes and obstructing roads as the US enters a major summer heatwave.

As of early Tuesday, 89 fires were active on the west coast, the southwest and Alaska, according to Axios.

In Texas, blazes that started in the middle of a historic heatwave tore through lake houses and waterfront communities in Palo Pinto County, just miles away from Fort Worth.

Red flag warnings were issued on Monday for Texas and Oklahoma, where temperatures could reach as high 110 to 112 degrees Fahrenheit this week.

A structure burns during a wildfire in Palo Pinto County, Texas, on Monday
A structure burns during a wildfire in Palo Pinto County, Texas, on Monday (Picture: AP)

Heat and dry conditions have already sparked at least major two fires in northern Texas.

The Chalk Mountain Fire in Somervell County nearly tripled in size overnight on Monday. The blaze grew from 1,200 acres to nearly 4,000 and was only 10% contained, according to the Texas A&M Fire Service.

Another fire started at Possum Kingdom Lake near Graford overnight on July 18. About 300 homes were evacuated, and at least five were burned in the blaze.

‘We are experiencing dry fuels to a level that we haven’t seen in the past ten years,’ said A&M Fire Service spokesperson Adam Turner. ‘Any spark that lands in tall grass or even lands in some short grass right now is liable to spark.’

A helicopter dumps water on a wildfire in Palo Pinto County, Texas on Monday
A helicopter dumps water on a wildfire in Palo Pinto County, Texas on Monday (Picture: AP)

The majority of the fires burning in the US are in Alaska. The National Interagency Fire Center estimates that there are currently 58 fires, stretching over 2.6 million acres.

This historic fire season hit the state earlier and harder this year than any on record. In June, hundreds of indigenous Alaskans along the Yukon river were forced to evacuate.

June also saw the hottest temperature on record for Kodiak according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service has issued warnings for eleven states for ‘above normal’ conditions for wildfires in July, including much of California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Texas, and Oklahoma. Coastal portions of the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida are also at risk.

The fire forecast for August shows even more areas in danger, including large swathes of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

For residents and homeowners in areas at risk to wildfires, the Interagency Fire Center published some recommendations on how to stay safe in the coming months.

In this image taken from video, smoke from a wildfire rises in Palo Pinto County, Texas on Monday, July 18, 2022. A wildfire has burned at least five homes and resulted in about 300 homes being evacuated around a lake in north Texas amid sweltering temperatures and dry conditions, authorities said. (KDFW FOX 4 via AP)
A wildfire has burned at least five homes and resulted in about 300 homes being evacuated around a lake in north Texas amid sweltering temperatures and dry conditions, authorities said (Picture: AP)

‘Take simple measures such as keeping streets and roads clear to fire engines can safely maneuver and residents can evacuate if needed,’ they wrote.

The center also recommended residents ensure that fire hydrants are visible and accessible and clear flammable vegetation around structures, large lots and roadsides.

-metro.co.uk

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