Wildfires – USA
A rash of grass fires, brush fires and forest fires broke out in a warm, windy weather regime from the Plains to the East Coast Tuesday, destroying at least one home in North Carolina and another in Iowa. The same weather pattern sparked numerous grass fires Monday, killing a Nebraska man. Wildfires also broke out in parts of the West Tuesday, prompting evacuations in at least one Southern California city.
The fires are just the latest round in a days-long series of virtually countless grass fires, most of them small and short-lived, mainly in the Plains states. One of those fires burned a cluster of abandoned cars near Kearney, Nebraska, on Monday. The body of a local man was found in one of the burned-out cars.
Arizona – Discarded ashes sparked a grass fire within the city of Flagstaff Tuesday, according to the Arizona Daily Sun. The fire briefly moved toward homes nearby before being quenched. There were no injuries or damage. Near-record warmth has baked northern Arizona in recent days, leading to the unusually early fire risk.
California – A significant wildfire broke out in the Victor Valley of San Bernardino County, California, Tuesday afternoon. KNBC-TV said evacuations were underway in the city of Apple Valley, where ground and air crews were attacking a two-pronged fire. One of the fire’s two fronts was threatening structures. Westerly winds were gusting to 30 mph in the area along with temperatures in the upper 70s and humidity below 15 percent Tuesday afternoon.
Illinois – The Galena Gazette said the Galena Fire Department was busy battling grass fires in that part of northwest Illinois Tuesday.
Iowa – KTVO says a grass fire broke out on a farm north of Bloomfield in southeast Iowa Tuesday afternoon. The fire was put out by mid-afternoon and there were no injuries.
Another fire destroyed a Sioux City home that contained an exotic bird store, according to The Associated Press. One person was inside the house when it caught fire, but escaped without injury. The homeowner gave authorities permission to take the birds to a pet shelter nearby, but AP did not have an update on the condition of the birds.
Montana – A large wildfire broke out Saturday near Columbus, Montana, as winds gusted to 74 mph during the passage of a cold front. The fire, dubbed the Pine Crest Fire, consumed two structures Saturday. A firefighter was slightly injured in the initial attack on the fire. By Tuesday, the fire was 85 percent contained, but officials were watching with concern as another cold front approached with the potential for shifting winds. The fire has burned 3,000 acres. Another wildfire, the West Fork Fire, has burned 400 acres just southwest of Red Lodge, Montana. The human-caused fire was 30 percent contained as of Monday evening, when 30 structures were threatened.
New Mexico – A grass fire ignited in Albuquerque Tuesday. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the fire started in the bosque, the strip of dense vegetation along the banks of the Rio Grande River. It was quickly brought under control by local firefighters.
North Carolina – A grass fire flared along a busy road in Winston-Salem Tuesday, according to WXII-TV.
North Dakota – A grass fire was reported north of Minot, North Dakota, Tuesday afternoon. AP reported that the fire burned about 100 acres of land and came close to a vacant school. Another grass fire broke out in Oliver County, north of Bismarck. This fire burned about 5,000 acres of land, or 8 square miles, according to AP. No injuries have been reported in any of the fires that were sparked in the state, AP added.
Virginia – A forest fire broke out near Churchville in Augusta County of western Virginia Tuesday, according to WHSV-TV. Gusty winds were observed in the area. Another fire broke out in Botetourt County, burning some 250 acres of land, WSLS-TV reported. This blaze is expected to grow as large as 500 acres before it’s fully contained. No injuries have been reported and the fire is under investigation, according to The Roanoke Times.