US Wildfires Burn Tens of Thousands of Acres

By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
May 25, 2014; 3:50 AM ET
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According to the USDA Forest Service, there are 11 large fires burning up thousands of acres of U.S. land. The fires are igniting in drought-stricken areas across the West. Of those, seven are listed as uncontained.

A helicopter drops retardant in Sterling Canyon in efforts to keep the Slide Fire from moving east toward Pumphouse Wash Canyon. (Photo/U.S. Forest Service, Coconino National Forest)

Alaska

More than 123,600 acres across the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge have been scorched by the Funny River Fire. As of Sunday afternoon, it was only 20 percent contained as firefighters worked to control the blaze.

While still under investigation, the fire is believed to have been caused by human activity.

According to Inciweb, "Vegetation remains extremely dry on the Kenai Peninsula. Residents and visitors are urged to use extreme caution with anything that could ignite a fire."

Smoke from the fire is expected in the Anchorage and Mat-Su Valley areas through the Memorial Day weekend as winds will remain generally from the south to southwest.

A shower in the area will be possible early next week.

Arizona

More than 1,000 personnel are working to contain the Slide Fire, which has burned more than 13,420 acres just north of Sedona. The terrain, which consists of steep slopes and canyons, is listed as very difficult for containment crews to work. As a result of the fire's difficult terrain and " extreme" nature, only 10 percent is listed as contained on Sunday.

Evacuation orders are still in place across the area. There are 300 buildings, including many homes, threatened by the fire.

The cause is still under investigation, but it is believed to be related to human activity.

A few showers and thunderstorms in the area this weekend could offer some beneficial support to containment efforts.

California

More than 2,100 acres of the San Bernardino National Forest have been incinerated in the Etiwanda Fire, which has been burning since the end of April.

Now fully contained, this active fire was sparked by an illegal campfire. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries battling to control the flames.

The fire is believed to have smoldered for several days before strong winds whipped it into a raging inferno.

Precipitation chances for the area are very low leading into June.

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Nevada

The Hunter Falls Fire burning near Reno reached containment Friday morning, thanks in part to recent rounds of heavy rain in the area. This fire has required nearly 200 workers for containment attempts. As of Saturday, it has cost about $830,000 in damages and resources. More than 850 acres have burned or are continuing to burn.

No additional rain is in the forecast for the next several days.

New Mexico

Just 10 miles north of Silver City, the Signal Fire continues to scorch more than 5,400 acres, but fire officials said the fire was contained, as of Saturday. Believed to have been caused by human activity, 100 personnel are working to secure fire lines. It has been burning since May 11.

No rain is expected in the area until at least late next week when a few showers may pass through.


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Samantha-Rae Tuthill at SamanthaRae.Tuthill@accuweather.com, follow her on Twitter @Accu_Sam or Google+. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.

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