GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — The governors of California and Nevada are calling for increased federal assistance as they tour an area blackened by one of several massive wildfires that have destroyed dozens of homes.
Wednesday’s tour of the Tamarack Fire along the state line comes as numerous wildfires char land and homes in a dozen states.
The 106-square-mile Tamarack Fire south of Lake Tahoe is chewing through timber and chaparral but is now more than halfway contained.
Evacuation orders for about 2,000 residents on both sides of the California-Nevada line have been lifted. At least 23 buildings have burned.
Cooler weather and even some rain has helped in the fight against some of the largest, including the Bootleg Fire in Oregon that has burned more than 160 homes.
But fire officials say hotter, drier weather is returning and could pose a threat of renewed fire ferocity.
Cooler weather on Tuesday helped calm the Bootleg Fire and the Dixie Fire in the U.S. West, but a tally of property losses mounted as authorities got better access to a tiny California community savaged by flames last weekend and to a remote area of southern Oregon where the nation’s largest blaze is burning.
Scientists say evidence shows Oregon’s Bootleg Fire generated its own “fire tornado” this month, with winds higher than 111 mph (179 kph). The rare phenomenon is associated with extreme fire behavior spawned by dry, hot conditions, experts said.
Meanwhile, teams reviewing damage from the massive Dixie Fire in the mountains of Northern California have so far counted 36 structures destroyed and seven damaged in the remote community of Indian Falls, said Nick Truax, an incident commander for the fire. It’s unclear if that figure included homes or smaller buildings.
The Dixie Fire has scorched more than 325 square miles (842 square kilometers), an area bigger than New York City, and it was partially contained Tuesday. More than 10,000 homes were threatened in the region about 175 miles (282 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.
A historic drought and recent heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West. Scientists say climate change has made the region much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.