Overnight, the McKinney fire in California multiplies by 62, while the Elmo fire in Montana expands to more than 11 square miles.
Wildfires in California and Montana have exploded overnight, fueled by hot and windy conditions, threatening communities and necessitating evacuations.
The fast-moving McKinney fire in California’s Klamath National Forest, a largely rural region near the Oregon state line, grew from scorching just over one square mile (about 2.5 square kilometers) on Friday to ravaging 62 square miles (160 square kilometers) by Saturday.
Caroline Quintanilla, a spokeswoman for Klamath National Forest, warned that the fire was “continuing to grow with erratic winds and thunderstorms in the area and triple-digit (Fahrenheit) temperatures.”
On Saturday, as the fire intensified, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency, granting him greater flexibility to make decisions regarding emergency response and recovery efforts and access federal aid.
According to a statement from the governor’s office, it also permits “firefighting resources from other states to assist California crews in fighting the fires.”
In the meantime, a wildfire near Elmo and Flathead Lake in Montana nearly tripled in size to more than 11 square miles (28 square kilometers).
Approximately 200 miles to the south, the Moose Fire in the Salmon-Challis National Forest burned more than 67 square miles (174 square kilometers) of forested land near the town of Salmon, Idaho.
“It’s a very dangerous fire – the terrain is steep and rugged, and this area hasn’t burned in quite some time,” he said.