Wildfires in the West: Two new fires erupt in California; Wyoming’s Mullen Fire expands into Colorado; containment grows in Oregon

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on wildfire news in the West. Here is the latest for the week starting Sept. 28, 2020. Photo courtesy of The Casper Star-Tribune.

Tens of thousands have been forced to flee California’s Napa and Sonoma counties after new wildfire activity emerged this past weekend.

The Glass Fire, ignited on Sept. 27, has burned 51,266 acres with 2% containment. It has destroyed 204 structures and threatens an additional 26,290, according to Capital Public Radio. The Zogg Fire, ignited on the same day, has burned 55,303 acres and reached 7% containment. In addition to at least four fatalities, the blaze has destroyed 147 structures and threatens an additional 1,538.

These new incidents add to an already devastating season for the Golden State, which, as of Oct. 1, has seen more than 3.7 million acres burn from approximately 8,100 different wildfires, leading to 30 deaths and destroying some 7,000 structures.

Other notable blazes include the Creek Fire (307,051 acres, 44% contained), the North Complex (314,949 acres, 79% contained), the August Complex (949,672 acres, 47% contained), the LNU Lightning Complex (363,220 acres, 98% contained), the SCU Lightning Complex (396,624 acres, 98% contained), and the Bobcat Fire (114,438 acres, 63% contained).

In Oregon, crews continue to make progress on a handful of blazes, including the 204,355-acre Lionshead Fire, at 35% containment as of Sept. 30, KATU 2 reports. Some evacuations remain in place, and the Warm Springs Reservation is still closed to non-tribal members.

Additionally, the 19,848-acre Beachie Creek Fire is now 58% contained, and fire crews do not anticipate any significant growth in the coming days. Other incidents include the Riverside Fire (138,029 acres, 37% contained), the Holiday Farm Fire (173,094 acres, 65% contained), and the Archie Creek Fire (131,452 acres, 73% contained).

Fire crews in Wyoming are racing to control the 117,240-acre Mullen Fire, which has exploded in size since igniting last week. According to The Casper Star-Tribune, the fire has destroyed 29 homes and 31 outbuildings, burning its way through the Medicine Bow National Forest and across the border into northern Colorado.

Elsewhere in the Centennial State, the Cameron Peak Fire has grown to 125,006 acres and 30% containment, making it the third largest fire in Colorado history, ABC 7 Denver reports. A total of 95 structures, including at least 31 homes, have been destroyed.

Other active incidents in the state include the Middle Fork Fire (8,056 acres, 0% contained), the Williams Fork Fire (13,247 acres, 25% contained), and the Grizzly Creek Fire (32,431 acres, 91% contained), which has not grown in several weeks.

In Arizona, firefighters have increased their containment of the 14,476-acre Sears Fire, reaching 45% as of the morning of Oct. 1, according to AZ Central. The fire, which was ignited Sept. 25, has drawn approximately 170 response personnel, including helicopters and water tenders.

In southern Idaho, nearly 400 firefighters are battling the roughly 90,000-acre Badger Fire, reaching 89% containment as of Sept. 30, Idaho News 2 reports. Officials explain that warm and dry conditions throughout the week have exacerbated the fire’s growth. The cause of the fire, which ignited Sept. 12, is yet to be determined.

Earlier this week, the Antelope Fire erupted in Montana, growing to almost 2,000 acres by midday Wednesday (Sept. 30), according to Montana Public Radio. Although the incident remains 0% contained, officials report that no livestock or significant structures are being threatened, and no evacuation orders have been issued.

Click here for the latest wildfire updates in your state.

Learn more about WGA’s policy work to prevent and combat wildfire in the West.

ICYMI: COVID-19 in the West: A state-by-state breakdown of the Governors’ work (updated weekly)

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