(CNN)Nine national forests in California are closed Monday as firefighters struggle to contain 11 large wildfires burning in the state.
The US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region issued an emergency forest service closure through at least September 6, citing “extreme fire conditions throughout northern California, and strained firefighting resources throughout the country.”Wildfire scorched an area in California roughly half the size of Chicago in less than a week as thousands more evacuate“These temporary closures are necessary to ensure public and firefighter safety, as well as reduce the potential for new fire starts,” Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien said.The closures include Tahoe National Forest, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Plumas National Forest, Lassen National Forest, Mendocino National Forest, Klamath National Forest, Six Rivers National Forest, Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Modoc National Forest.The forest service said anyone violating the order could face fines up to $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for an organization, as well as up to six months in jail.Read MoreAdditionally, the Eldorado National Forest, also in California, was closed on August 17 due to the Caldor Fire. That closure will last through at least September 30, the forest service said. Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestThis aerial photo, taken on Thursday, August 19, shows burned homes at the Creekside Mobile Home Park a day after they were destroyed by the Cache Fire in Clearlake, California.Hide Caption 1 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighters dig a containment line on the Caldor Fire near Pollock Pines, California, on Wednesday, August 18.Hide Caption 2 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestSmoke and haze from wildfires obscure the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline on August 18.Hide Caption 3 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestIn this long-exposure photo, embers light up hillsides as the Dixie Fire burns near Milford, California, on Tuesday, August 17.Hide Caption 4 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestDestiney Barnard holds Raymond William Goetchius while stranded at a gas station in Doyle, California, on August 17. Barnard’s car broke down as she was helping Raymond and his family flee the Dixie Fire.Hide Caption 5 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestDestroyed property is seen August 17 after the Caldor Fire passed through Grizzly Flats, California.Hide Caption 6 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighters spray water on trees being burned by the Dixie Fire near Janesville, California, on August 17.Hide Caption 7 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestA firefighting helicopter flies in front of the sun, which was shrouded in thick wildfire smoke near Lakeview, Oregon, on Sunday, August 15.Hide Caption 8 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestWind blows smoke away for a moment, revealing damage from the Parleys Canyon Fire in Utah on Saturday, August 14.Hide Caption 9 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestCrews battle a fire in Newhall, California, on August 12.Hide Caption 10 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestA table and chairs sit in front of a destroyed home in Greenville, California, on August 12.Hide Caption 11 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestA firefighter battles the Dixie Fire near Taylorsville, California, on August 10.Hide Caption 12 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestSmoke plumes rise from the Kwis Fire near Eugene, Oregon, on August 10.Hide Caption 13 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestA firefighter works to extinguish a controlled burn, a preventative measure, to protect a home in Greenville, California, on August 9.Hide Caption 14 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighters battling the Dixie Fire clear a fallen tree from a roadway in Plumas County, California, on August 6.Hide Caption 15 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFlames from the Dixie Fire consume a pickup truck on Highway 89, south of Greenville, California, on August 5.Hide Caption 16 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestOperations Chief Jay Walter passes the historic Sierra Lodge as the Dixie Fire burns through Greenville, California, on August 4. The fire leveled multiple historic buildings and dozens of homes in central Greenville.Hide Caption 17 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighters work at a Greenville home that was engulfed by the Dixie Fire on August 4.Hide Caption 18 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestThe Dixie Fire burns near Taylorsville, California, on July 29.Hide Caption 19 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom, left, and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak tour an area destroyed by the Tamarack Fire in Gardnerville, Nevada, on July 28. Hide Caption 20 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighter Brentt Call walks through a burned-over area of the Bootleg Fire near Klamath Falls, Oregon, on July 27.Hide Caption 21 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestCal Fire Capts. Tristan Gale, left, and Derek Leong monitor a firing operation in California’s Lassen National Forest on July 26. Crews had set a ground fire to stop the Dixie Fire from spreading.Hide Caption 22 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighters try to reach a fire site in Quincy, California, on July 25.Hide Caption 23 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestVolunteers sort clothing at a donation shelter for those affected by the Bootleg Fire in Bly, Oregon.Hide Caption 24 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestScott Griffin surveys his property, which was destroyed by the Bootleg Fire in Sycan Estates, Oregon.Hide Caption 25 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFlames consume a home as the Dixie Fire tears through the Indian Falls community of Plumas County, California, on July 24.Hide Caption 26 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestPeople stand behind the fire line as flames from the Steptoe Canyon Fire spread through dry grass in Colton, Washington, on July 22.Hide Caption 27 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestPlumes of smoke from the Dixie Fire rise above California’s Plumas National Forest, near the Pacific Gas and Electric Rock Creek Power House, on July 21.Hide Caption 28 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighters walk near a wildfire in Topanga, California, on July 19.Hide Caption 29 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestA firefighter does mop-up work in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, which has been struggling with the Bootleg Fire in Oregon.Hide Caption 30 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestA car is charred by the Bootleg Fire along a mountain road near Bly, Oregon.Hide Caption 31 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestNicolas Bey, 11, hugs his father, Sayyid, near a donated trailer they are using after their home was burned in the Bootleg Fire near Beatty, Oregon.Hide Caption 32 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighters extinguish hot spots in an area affected by the Bootleg Fire near Bly, Oregon.Hide Caption 33 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestA bear cub clings to a tree after being spotted by a safety officer at the Bootleg Fire in Oregon.Hide Caption 34 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighters work to protect Markleeville, California, from the Tamarack Fire on July 17. The Tamarack Fire was started by a lightning strike. Hide Caption 35 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestThe Tamarack Fire burns in Markleeville, near the California-Nevada border, on July 17.Hide Caption 36 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestA member of the Northwest Incident Management Team 12 holds a map of the Chuweah Creek Fire as wildfires devastated Nespelem, Washington, on July 16.Hide Caption 37 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestA cloud from the Bootleg Fire drifts into the air near Bly, Oregon, on July 16.Hide Caption 38 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighters spray water from the Union Pacific Railroad’s fire train while battling the Dixie Fire in California’s Plumas National Forest on July 16.Hide Caption 39 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestHorses climb a hillside that was burned by the Chuweah Creek Fire in eastern Washington.Hide Caption 40 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFire from the Bootleg Fire illuminates smoke near Bly, Oregon, on the night of July 16.Hide Caption 41 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestA firefighter battles the Bootleg Fire in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, along the Oregon and California border, on July 15.Hide Caption 42 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestA firefighting aircraft drops flame retardant on the Bootleg Fire in Bly, Oregon, on July 15.Hide Caption 43 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighters dig away at hot spots underneath stumps and brush after flames from the Snake River Complex Fire swept through the area south of Lewiston, Idaho, on July 15.Hide Caption 44 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestBurned cars sit outside a home that was destroyed by the Chuweah Creek Fire in Nespelem, Washington.Hide Caption 45 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestEvacuee Dee McCarley hugs her cat Bunny at a Red Cross center in Klamath Falls, Oregon, on July 14.Hide Caption 46 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestAn airplane drops fire retardant on the Chuweah Creek Fire in Washington on July 14.Hide Caption 47 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestOperations Section Chief Bert Thayer examines a map of the Bootleg Fire in Chiloquin, Oregon, on July 13.Hide Caption 48 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFire consumes a home as the Sugar Fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex Fire, tears through Doyle, California, on July 10. It’s the second time in less than a year that the small town has been ravaged by a wildfire.Hide Caption 49 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestMen hug a member of the Red Cross at a Bootleg Fire evacuation center in Klamath Falls, Oregon.Hide Caption 50 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestEmbers blow across a field as the Sugar Fire burns in Doyle, California, on July 9.Hide Caption 51 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestFirefighters monitor the Sugar Fire in Doyle, California, on July 9.Hide Caption 52 of 53 Photos: Wildfires raging in the WestIn this long-exposure photograph, taken early on July 2, flames surround a drought-stricken Shasta Lake during the Salt Fire in Lakehead, California.Hide Caption 53 of 53The emergency closures in California come as 94 large active fires and complexes have burned 2,472,381 acres across a dozen states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).So far this year, more than 41,000 fires have scorched 4,586,155 acres, NIFC data showed. That’s more than a million acres higher than the nearly 3,300,00 acres burned by this time last year.The West's historic drought in 3 mapsSome very minor relief is in the forecast as an onshore flow into the Northwest has helped calm fire conditions and clear lingering smoke, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said. Winds along the frontal boundary of a cold front moving into the area could push some big fires into new acreage, but the next week will see cooler temperatures and higher humidity, which should increase containment, Guy said.While there’s no significant rain to speak of, the drought monitor in the West shows “miniscule” signs of improvement,” Guy said. “A little is better than none or worse. So the little bit of rain that was received did put a hair scratch (not a dent) in the West’s drought.”Caldor Fire burns more than 100,000 acresThe fast-moving Caldor Fire in Northern California swelled to 104,309 acres Sunday, up from 90,107 reported Saturday evening, Cal Fire said.The fire crossed the 100,000-acre mark just days after it sparked on August 14. The flames burning in El Dorado County are 5% contained. The fire had destroyed 475 structures as of Sunday night and threatened another 17,488, Cal Fire said. More than 1,600 firefighting personnel are assigned to battle the flames.Parts of El Dorado County are under evacuation orders or warnings. An evacuation warning is also in place in parts of neighboring Amador County. “This year what we’re seeing more than ever is a set of fuel conditions that many of our professionals that have spent their whole careers fighting fire have never seen before,” El Dorado National Forest Supervisor Jeff Marsolais said in a community briefing Saturday evening.”The system is as taxed as it has ever been,” he said of firefighting resources. “And our folks on the ground are doing everything they can within their power.”Dixie Fire delivers ‘never before seen’ conditionsCows graze in front of a burning hillside during the Dixie Fire in Genesee, California, on August 21.Farther to the north in California, the nation’s largest active fire, the Dixie Fire, expanded to 724,110 acres Sunday, Cal Fire reported. The fire is the second-largest in California’s history and is 38% contained after burning for 40 days. The flames have destroyed more than 1,200 structures — residential, commercial and otherwise — and threaten another 12,000. Why autumn weather won't be the same this yearEvacuation warnings are in place in portions of Plumas, Butte and Lassen counties, according to Cal Fire.”Fires burning in northern California are exhibiting extreme fire growth based on critical fuel conditions,” Cal Fire said in a Sunday evening update on the Dixie Fire.”Under these drought conditions, wildfires are burning rapidly with extreme severity and have traveled up to 8 miles in a single day,” the update said. “Firefighters are experiencing conditions never seen before, such as increased spread rates, spotting and active nighttime burning.”
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