Authorities have issued evacuation orders for Lake Fire and Ranch2 Fire affected areas in Los Angeles County, California; Mosier Creek fire in Wasco County, Oregon; and Pine Gulch, Grizzly Creek and Cameron Peak fires in Colorado.
Mandatory evacuations are in place for residents in Lake Hughes and surrounding areas.
The weather is not helping. Some of the hottest summer temperatures were expected on Friday and weekends in 11 states from Texas to California and Northwest. About 85 million people are under some sort of heat warning, clock or tip on Friday, according to CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen.
From worsening drought to “whitening weather” that brings on wetter wet seasons and drier seasons, climate change is hitting California harder than almost anywhere else in America, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.
Fires are one of the most obvious and devastating examples of this. Numerous studies have linked rising carbon dioxide emissions and rising temperatures to increased combustion surface burning throughout the western U.S. states, particularly California.
The Colorado Fire is the nation’s ‘top priority’
Gov. Jared Polis called Grizzly Creek fire “the top priority” in the country at a news conference Friday, with sources coming from across the country to fight the fire. The fire broke out Aug. 10 in Glenwood Canyon, according to InciWeb, but the cause remains unknown.
The fire rose sharply Thursday and warned there would be more increase in the coming days, said Marty Adell, U.S. Forest Service incident commander for the blaze. Fire crews are resisting high temperatures, winds and low relative humidity, he said. Some of the affected areas are inaccessible, making it difficult for firefighters and equipment to move on site, Adell said.
While the fire has triggered several evacuation orders, Polis said Friday that the main impact is traffic closures.
“Literally, this fire is right on Highway 70,” he said.
The governor said fire conditions have been exacerbated by the dry weather.
“All of Colorado is under drought now,” Polis said. “So we are at a great risk set up in many of our areas. I want to make sure it is a clear message to campers and others to really limit the activities that can cause fires as we go about our lives. daily.”
CNN’s Stella Chan, Jamiel Lynch, Sarah Moon and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.