Wildfire activity continues in 15 states, where more than 100 large fires have burned 2.3 million acres this year. Americares has deployed response experts, focusing on California and Oregon.
The Caldor Fire, which started in early August, has already consumed over 170,000 acres and it is only 13% contained as it threatens a number of communities and moves perilously close to the Lake Tahoe area, initially prompting more evacuation orders in endangered communities. The threat to the Tahoe area has decreased somewhat as the weather has moderated and helped efforts by firefighters to keep the fire from reaching populated areas. As the fire crossed into Nevada, authorities issued an emergency declaration.
The Dixie Fire, which ignited on July 13 from a downed power line in rural Butte County, California, has burned more than 630,000 acres making it the largest fire burning in CA and second largest in the state’s history. The fire is currently 35% contained and more than 60 homes have been destroyed with nearly 10,000 additional structures are at risk. At least 20 regions in Butte and Plumas counties have had mandatory evacuation orders, and 6 regions have evacuation notices. Three evacuation centers are open in Quincy, Chester, and Susanville, CA.
In response to these fires and in preparation for an active wildfire season across California, Americares staff members have deployed to California where they have met with partners in the LA County, San Francisco Bay, and Sacramento area to assess needs and discuss preparedness efforts.
The Bootleg Fire, which started on July 5 north of Sprague River, Oregon has burned 413,762 acres and is the largest fire of 2021. Although containment efforts have been successful and is now up to 87%, the megafire still holds a lot of heat and will likely not fully burn out until late fall or early winter when moisture increases and temperature decreases. Mandatory evacuations remain in place for areas in Lake County around the fire perimeter and areas immediately adjacent to the fire line.
In response to this fire, Americares has reached out to health centers or emergency management organizations in the Klamath Falls area to offer assistance. Americares staff members have been deployed to Oregon to meet with partners in Klamath Falls who may have been affected by the fire in addition to other partners across the state who may become impacted by fires later in the season.