Threat from deadly Western wildfires persists


Alex Nelson monitors a backfire, flames lit by firefighters to burn off vegetation, while battling the Mosquito Fire in the Volcanoville community of El Dorado County, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Nelson is part of Alaska’s Pioneer Peak Interagency Hotshot crew. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

(NewsNation) — The deadly Fairview Fire that’s been burning in Riverside County, California, for nearly a week is now nearly half contained thanks to drenching rain from Tropical Storm Kay.

“And the rain that we have received has come in a nice steady rainfall as opposed to a heavy deluge,” said fire command meteorologist Matt Mehle.

According to a Cal Fire incident report Sunday, “Cooler temperatures and higher humidity assisted with moderating some fire activity,” but higher winds allowed the flames to push to the north and northeast.”

But now, there are some new concerns.

“You’ve got wetlands, you’ve got muddy areas, the traction’s really bad out there, you’ve got the possibility of falling trees and electricity that may have been affected,” said Doug Ulibarri of the Califoirnia incident management team.

The bigger incident now is the Mosquito Fire, which broke out Tuesday night and has already scorched nearly 42,000 acres — an area three times the size of Manhattan.

According to Mosquito Fire spokesperson Chris Valenzuela, the“fire is pretty much a wild animal, we can’t tame it, we can just try to control it and extinguish it.”

Containment is only at 10% and flames are still threatening almost 6,000 homes in Placer and El Dorado Counties. Over 11-thousand people remain evacuated.

Cal Fire expects it will take at least a month for full containment of the Mosquito Fire.

The blazes are among more than 90 active fires across the country, including in Montana, California and Idaho, the National Interagency Fire Center said

“I have a little anxiety, running around. The unknown is the hardest part. But I know a lot of people, especially in Michigan bluff, they lost a lot.” said Gary Magnesen who was evacuated due to the spreading flames of the Mosquito Fire.

There were 18 large fires burning in Oregon and Washington, leading to evacuations and targeted power outages in Oregon as the challenge of dry and windy conditions continued in the region.

In Oregon, the Cedar Creek fire has devoured over 50,000 acres in Lane County, forcing evacuations in two towns.

Like evacuees in California, many can only wait and wonder.

“Worried, scared to death that weren’t gonna have a home when we got back. And we still don’t know. We still don’t know,”said evacuee Derek Jones.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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