KEY POINTS

  • California’s wildfires threaten more than 10,000 homes
  • Five firefighters were injured while battling Montana’s wildfires
  • The Bootleg Fire still to be fully contained, growing in the east
  • Airports in the west are reporting jet fuel shortages

Wildfires continued their death dance across the U.S. West over the weekend, with hundreds of homes burned down in California and thousands more threatened, causing evacuations and sucking in firefighting resources. Airports in the western United States reported a shortage of jet fuel as demand from firefighting aircraft kept rising.

The biggest wildfire in California, the Dixie Fire, merged with the smaller Fly Fire over the weekend and leveled dozens of homes in Indian Falls, Northern California, Fox-owned KTVU reported. As of Sunday, the merged fire has been 21% contained, officials said.

Authorities in Butte and Plumas counties said 10,000 homes are under threat from the fire. Hundreds of homes have burned down, while some small communities in the mountainous parts of West Lake Almanor have been issued with evacuation orders to prevent casualties.

In Montana, five federal firefighters were hospitalized after winds pushed wildfire their way while they were constructing a defensive line at Garfield County’s Devil’s Creek Fire.

The Associated Press reported that the five remain hospitalized as of Sunday, but were in stable condition. Two of the firefighters were with the USDA Forest Service, while the rest were crew members with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They sustained burn injuries from the fire, which was caused by lightning.

The Devil’s Creek Fire has expanded to 1,300 acres over the weekend, but the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation said last week that it is prioritizing the containment of the Alder Creek Fire, which has grown to over 6,800 acres.

The Alder Creek Fire is smaller compared to the other bigger fires across the U.S., but containment has only reached 7% and is threatening more than 240 homes in nearby areas, NPR reported.

The country’s largest wildfire this year, the Bootleg Fire, has burned more than 400,000 acres and has been contained at 40% as of Friday, the New York Times reported. More than 2,300 firefighters have been trying to contain the fire, and while most of the western part of the Oregon fire has been contained, the wildfire has been growing in the east.

Airports in the west of the United States have reported a shortage of jet fuel, leading to flight disruptions. Lawmakers said flights from the Fresno Yosemite International Airport have been disrupted by jet fuel shortages blamed on the lack of tanker truck deliveries. Fuel demand has spiked from both commercial carriers and firefighting planes. Delays have also been reported at the Bozeman Yellowsone International Airport.

At the Reno-Tahoe airport, lawmakers are expecting canceled passenger and cargo flights in the coming days due to jet fuel shortage. The Reno-Tahoe airport serves Henderson, Nevada’s second-largest metro area.

The U.S. West has faced unprecedented high temperatures and dry conditions that have offered ideal conditions for wildfires to break out and spread. Dry storms over the weekend that produce little rain can spark new blazes, forecasters have warned. "The next couple days will be very hot and dry in the intermountain West with a chance of thunderstorms in parts of the Northwest, Great Basin and Northern California areas," the National Interagency Fire Center warned Sunday. 

Smoke from the Dixie Fire (top) and the Tamarack Fire in Northern California on July 21, 2021 Smoke from the Dixie Fire (top) and the Tamarack Fire in Northern California on July 21, 2021 Photo: RAMMB/NOAA/NESDIS / Handout