Western wildfires bring poor air quality across US; record fire burns amid drought in Hawaii


The Bootleg Fire in Oregon was up to 84% contained on Monday as firefighters made progress over the weekend battling the blaze, which is the nation’s largest at 646 square miles.

Elsewhere, authorities canceled evacuation orders near the Dixie Fire in Northern California and another on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Despite the good news, authorities warned that with unpredictable winds and extremely dry fuel across the West, the risk of flare-ups remained high over the next few days. In addition, while predicted thunderstorms in many areas could bring welcome rainfall, the storms could also cause flash flooding.

Spots left barren of vegetation by the rash of wildfires throughout the West are especially prone to flash flooding when pelted by heavy rainfall.

Flash flood watches were in effect for mountainous areas of seven Western states, from Montana to New Mexico, the National Weather Service said.

Nearly 22,000 firefighters and support personnel were battling 91 wildfires covering 2,813 square miles in mostly Western states, the National Interagency Fire Center said.

Read more