Windy, hot conditions fuel the explosive growth of fires in California and Montana

Windy, hot conditions fuel the explosive growth of fires in California and Montana

Published July 31, 2022
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YREKA, Calif. — Major wildfires in California and Montana grew substantially as firefighters protected remote communities on Sunday as hot, windy weather across the tinder-dry U.S. West created the potential for even more spread.

The McKinney Fire was burning out of control in Northern California’s Klamath National Forest as erratic lightning storms swept through the region just south of the Oregon state line, said U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Adrienne Freeman.

The blaze exploded in size to more than 80 square miles (207 square km) just two days after erupting in a largely unpopulated area of Siskiyou County, according to a Sunday incident report. The cause was under investigation.

In Montana, a blaze sparked in grasslands near the town of Elmo grew to more than 11 square miles (28 square km) after advancing into forest. Temperatures in western Montana could spike to 96 degrees (36 Celsius) by Sunday afternoon with strong winds, the National Weather Service said.