California and Oregon wildfires worsen, prompting more evacuations

There are 16 major fires in the Pacific Northwest.

Updated: July 18, 2021 - 9:08pm

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A wildfire south of Lake Tahoe is rapidly growing as it jumped a highway, resulting in more evacuations and the cancelation of the Death Ride, an extreme bike ride through the Sierra Nevada.

Sparked by lightning on July 4, the Tamarack Fire has grown to 18,299 acres, according to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

A small town near the California-Nevada state line, Markleeville, is being threatened by the wildfire, which has destroyed three structures and is burning toward the Alpine County Airport, the Associated Press reported.

Death Ride, a 103-mile extreme bike ride, was supposed to hold its 40th event on Saturday, but canceled because of the wildfire, after canceling last year as a result of COVID-19. The event brings "thousands of cyclists to the region each year to ride through three mountain passes in the so-called California Alps," according to the wire service.

The event's "website said several communities in the area had been evacuated and ordered all riders to clear the area. The fire left thousands of bikers and spectators stranded in the small town and racing to get out," the AP reported.

The Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, which is currently the largest wildfire in the U.S., is at nearly 300,000 acres but is 22% contained, according to the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

"This fire is large and moving so fast, every day it progresses four to five miles," Incident Commander Joe Hassel said, according to the AP.

Fire department crews are dealing with massive "fire clouds" rising to six miles above the wildfire, which has "destroyed at least 67 homes and 117 outbuildings," the wire service reported.

There are at least 16 major fires in the Pacific Northwest, the U.S. Forest Service said.

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