Officials concerned about size, severity of Western wildfires

PLUMAS COUNTY, Calif. (NBC) – Close to 60 wildfires are burning out of control across the West right now during ongoing heatwaves and, what forecasters call, a mega-drought providing tens-of-thousands of acres of fuel.

It’s early in the wildfire season, but frontline teams say the flames are as intense as any they’ve had to deal with which has many worried about what could come next.

The intense and fast-moving fires are chasing thousands from their homes. Tens of thousands of acres have been swallowed by the flames. Severe heat is creating a tinder box across the region dried brush and timber fueling the massive fires that crews usually don’t see until the heart of the wildfire season.

Oregon State Fire Marshal Public Information Officer Gert Zoutendijk said, “Normally, we see fire behavior like this and these big fires, not until August or September.”

High winds are adding to the danger for response teams.

Beckwourth Complex Fire Public Information Officer Lisa Cox said, “We have to be very careful about where we insert crews to make sure they don’t get trapped.”

The flames are also threatening power lines, prompting officials in California to ask residents to voluntarily conserve energy during the cooler, evening hours.

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