Wildfires in North America: Oregon, California, New Mexico, and Los Angeles

June 26, 2024

Oregon wildfire leads to evacuations

As reported by AP News, gusty winds fuelled a rapidly growing wildfire outside the central Oregon community of La Pine, prompting evacuations on Tuesday.

The fire, estimated to be 2.7 square miles in size, was growing and not contained.

Evacuation alerts were sent to 1,100 homes and businesses, according to Lt. Jayson Janes of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

About 50-60 people sought refuge at a local high school serving as an evacuation center.

Governor Tina Kotek invoked an order allowing the fire marshal to mobilize resources to fight the blaze.

A plume of black and gray smoke loomed over local businesses.

Jodi Kerr, owner of Meandering Maker Mercantile, said: “It’s part of the risk of living in an area like this. It’s beautiful, but it’s wild.”

Central Oregon Fire Management Service firefighters used dozers to establish control lines, and aircraft dropped fire retardant to slow the flames.

La Pine High School served as a temporary evacuation point, while the La Pine Rodeo Grounds hosted a shelter for livestock and small animals.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Firefighters tackle blaze in southern California

In Southern California, approximately 2,500 San Diego residents were under evacuation orders as fire crews battled a blaze near Torrey Pines State Beach.

Authorities closed two Interstate 5 off-ramps as winds pushed flames through about 20 acres of dry brush.

The fire was 5% contained by Tuesday evening, with firefighters working in steep, rugged terrain.

Two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion. An evacuation center was set up at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Improved weather conditions aided firefighters in their efforts to control the fire.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Wildfires affect New Mexico and northern California

In New Mexico, search and rescue crews cleared properties in Ruidoso, where fast-moving wildfires prompted thousands to flee their homes.

Mayor Lynn Crawford reported that the number of unaccounted residents has been shrinking.

About 1,000 firefighters were assigned to the fires in Ruidoso, with more than 100 new fires reported in New Mexico and Arizona over the last week.

Federal officials have deployed complex incident management teams due to significant threats to homes and infrastructure.

Firefighters have focused on unburned fuel pockets to prevent flare-ups.

The FBI is investigating the human-caused fires and offering up to $10,000 for information leading to arrests and convictions.

In northern California, a rural wildfire threatened the community of Palermo.

The fire spread over about 1 square mile on Monday evening but was static by Tuesday, with 25% containment.

Improved weather conditions have aided firefighters. The cause of the Apache Fire is under investigation.

Los Angeles firefighter injured in Sepulveda Basin fire

A fire involving brush and manmade materials in the Sepulveda Basin injured a Los Angeles City Firefighter on Monday afternoon.

Initially a 1/2 acre grass fire, the flames also burned an encampment in the area.

The blast from an unknown explosion caused head trauma to a firefighter, who was transported to a local hospital.

Ten other firefighters were also assessed for injuries and have been released from the hospital.

Over 200 firefighters responded to the incident. LAFD water-dropping helicopters were used to complete extinguishment.

An active investigation continues, with 13 LAFD companies and the LAPD on the scene.

No civilian injuries have been reported.

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