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The Northern California Wildfires: What You Need to Know

Currently, several wildfires are blazing in northern California. The McKinney Fire, an enormous wildfire, is one such fire raging. The fire is continuing to grow in size, and is currently-- as of 1 August 2022-- completely uncontained. So far, two people have been confirmed as dead from the fire.

The Mckinney Fire started on 29 July 2022 at 2:38 PM in the Klamath National Forest, border of California and Oregon, exploding in growth to become the largest California wildfire of 2022. As of 1 August 2022, the cause of the fire remains unknown, and the fire has burned for two days.

The McKinney Fire is not the only one: there are several fires in the Klamath National Forest. The extreme heat from these fires forced hot air to rise and water in vegetation to rise, forming pyrocumulus clouds. Combining with smoke particles, the evaporated water condensates, creating thunderstorm-like clouds. Pyrocumulus clouds behave much like thunderstorm clouds, and can aid or hinder fires. In this case, the clouds are aiding the fire.

Winds from thunderstorms exacerbated the flames, burning more than 55,000 acres and forcing nearly 2,000 people to evacuate the area. Lightning from the storms did not help matters either. This fire is one of the consequences of sustained drought conditions from the drought in western US and global warming. Dry thunderstorms, such as the storm expected to hit the area on 1 August 2022, are a result of rain evaporating before it hits the ground, leaving lightning to spark and fuel fires.

Governor Newsom of California proclaimed a state of emergency for Siskiyou County because the wildfire destroyed buildings and threatened critical infrastructure. Highway 96 is closed to forestall further disasters for the time being. Meanwhile, people in northern California, central Oregon, eastern Washington, Montana, western South Dakota, and eastern Wyoming are under red flag orders.

Sources (Accessed 1 Aug 2022 3:54 PM)

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