More extreme heat and weather this weekend

  • A heat dome in the northern Rockies will lead to higher temperatures.
  • A new fire is burning in Butte County just 10 miles from Paradise, California.
  • Paradise was practically destroyed by the campfire in 2018.

Be prepared, don’t be afraid.

That’s the mantra in the rural town of Paradise in Northern California, which was virtually destroyed by wildfire less than three years ago. Today Paradise is 10 miles from the Dixie Fire, an uncontrolled fire that has swept more than 3 ½ square miles mainly of scrub and wood since it started on Wednesday.

The fire is one of more than 70 in 12 states from California to Minnesota fueled in an inexorable loop this summer by weeks of heat, drought, and other factors.

Paradise Mayor Steve Crowder lost his home and business in 2018 in the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in modern US history. He’s back, and his family’s embroidery and shirt printing business, A Stitch Above, will be back once the building is completed, he said.

Crowder said he was trying to “play rumored controls” to reassure local residents.

“Difficult access and steep terrain are slowing the progress of extinguishing efforts,” fire department managers said in a statement, adding that the fire “continues to burn away from populated areas”.

Crowder said he and the fire department are cautiously optimistic.

“It’s supposed to heat up a bit, but not a major wind event to be expected, which is good,” Crowder told USA TODAY. “So Cal Fire is hoping to have another good day today.”

In a Facebook post, city officials tried to calm the nerves: “There are still NO EVACUATION WARNINGS OR EVACUATION ORDERS for the city of Paradise,” the post said. It added that the city, the California Fire, and Butte County authorities were closely monitoring the fire.

Joyce Mclean has rebuilt her burned out house and will do it again if necessary, she told KHSL-TV.

“We take every day as it comes and when it happens it happens,” said Mclean. “There’s not much we can do about that.”

But some residents were nervous. Larry Peterson, whose house in neighboring Magalia survived the previous fire, said some of his neighbors would bring their belongings together in case they had to flee.

“Every time you have a fire after what we’ve been through and a new one comes along, you have to worry,” he told the TV station.

More than 34,400 forest fires burned 2,255,218 million acres in the U.S. this year, the National Interagency Fire Center estimates. The Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest region said it had risen to the highest readiness level of 5.

“This is pretty early in the fire season to get to that level,” tweeted the Forest Service.

West staying “tragically dry” for at least a week. The Oregon fire can burn through fall.

The largest fire is the Bootleg Fire in Oregon, which has now burned down an area larger than New York City and has handicapped firefighters for almost a week with erratic winds and extremely dangerous fire behavior.

It only remains 7% contained, the forest service says, and full containment is expected before October. The fire on Thursday began to increase rapidly, leading to evacuation orders for more Oregonians.

“We’re trying to figure out where, how far, and how fast it’s moving to determine what to do with the evacuation,” said Gert Zoutendijk, spokesman for the State Fire Marshal’s Oregon office. “The big word is that everyone in Lake County is aware and needs to sign up for the warning system if they haven’t already.”

Three-digit temperatures could break records in the upper Midwest in the coming days. The hazy silver lining: “There’s a chance smoke from nearby forest fires could cloud the sky, which could contain some of the heat,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Jessica Storm.

A heat dome building in the northern Rocky Mountains will cause temperatures – already above normal – to soar into the next week, says Accuweather.

In Montana, Sunday’s record high of 104 in Billings in 1955 is expected to stay the same. According to AccuWeather meteorologist Jessica Storm, temperatures are expected to rise by early next week. The maximum temperature forecast for Monday is 105 degrees, which would correspond to the 1960 record.

A heat dome is created when sea temperatures in the tropical Pacific change sharply from west to east. Warm air from the western part of the Pacific Ocean becomes trapped in the jet stream as it approaches land. When this hot air arrives overland, the atmosphere traps the hot air as if a lid is placed on it.

It was already a hot summer. The nation has set 585 all-time heat records in the past 30 days, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This includes 349 maximum daily temperatures and 236 warmest minimum temperatures overnight.

Temperatures were expected to subside by the end of next week but not be on the lookout for cool weather anytime soon, Storm said.

“The extreme heat is expected to subside slightly over the next week, but temperatures will still remain well above normal,” she said.

Contributor: Associated Press

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