NASA says smoke from a massive wildfire burning in northern Nevada is visible from space. Hot and dry conditions across much of the United States have created a perfect storm for wildfires in several states and the largest of those fires was burning over nearly 450,000 acres of land in Humboldt County, Nevada on Monday after just a few days.
Officials for the federal space agency said Tuesday a NASA satellite captured infrared imaging of the fire that has burned nearly 700 square miles of remote rangeland, an area almost half the size of the state of Rhode Island.
The Martin fire started July 5 near Paradise Valley, Nevada. In the days following, it spread to up to 448,000 acres, according to the incident information system, and is currently 48% contained. Grass, brush and some small pieces of timber fueled the fire, flames reached 45-feet high, spreading it across the county. There was also a persistent wind that helped grow the fire from where it was already burning.
Other fires are raging across western states, especially California, Colorado and Utah. A fast-moving wildfire that has already claimed one life and injured three firefighters has spread from northern California into Oregon.
The Klamathon Fire, which started July 5 in Siskiyou County, California, has consumed more than 36,500 acres, according to Cal Fire. The fire has killed one person in their home and destroyed 72 structures, including houses. It also injured three firefighters, including one who had severe burns to his face, according to a Gofundme page that raised more than $28,000 for him in less than 24 hours. Several areas in Oregon’s Jackson County have now been issued red-alert evacuation notices, meaning residents should leave immediately. Others have been assigned a yellow “be set” warning, according to Cal Fire.
The state’s largest blaze, the 90,288 acres County Fire, is 83 percent contained. It has destroyed a dozen structures since it broke out June 30.
Firefighters are dealing with several major wildfires across Colorado. In southern Colorado, firefighters are making progress on a wildfire that has burned more than 130 homes and blackened nearly 110,000 acres. Investigators say an illegal campfire sparked the blaze east of Fort Garland on June 27, and it has since become the third-largest in state history. It also forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes.
Meanwhile, firefighters were taking advantage of rain showers and increased humidity in their battle against a wildfire that has been burning for more than a month near Durango in southwestern Colorado. That fire has scorched about 55,000 acres and is 50 percent contained.
In neighboring Utah, more residents were allowed back into their homes Sunday after being driven out by a wind-fueled fire. The blaze burning near a popular fishing lake 80 miles southeast of Salt Lake City is now 35 percent contained, according to Duchesne County Sheriff’s officials. The wildfire has charred about 48,000 acres and destroyed 90 structures, including homes, since starting July 1.