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Weather conditions to increase wildfire danger in Western U.S.

Weather conditions to increase wildfire danger in Western U.S.
A heat dome is expected to bring high temperatures to the western United States which has already been plagued by wildfires that have burned nearly 4 million acres throughout the region. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A heat dome is expected to bring high temperatures to the Western United States, which has already been plagued by wildfires that have burned nearly 4 million acres throughout the region.

A large area of high pressure is expected to build in the region, while a trough in the jet stream sends cold air to the Midwest and East, favoring unusually high temperatures and resulting in a lack of rain in some of the areas that have already been hit hardest by the flames.

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The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, on Wednesday said that a Fire Weather Watch will be in effect for much of Northern California beginning Saturday as gusty winds and low humidity will create fire weather conditions.

More than 8,000 wildfires have burned an excess of 3.6 million acres in California since the beginning of the year, destroying 6,600 structures and resulting in 26 fatalities.

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The August Complex fire in Tehama County, the largest in California's history at 859,966 acres, was 39% contained Wednesday and the Creek Fire in Fresno County grew to become the largest single fire in the history of the state at 289,695 acres and 32% containment, according to Cal Fire.

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Meanwhile, the North Complex in Plumas County, which has resulted in 15 deaths, burned 301,404 acres and was 75% contained.

Nine people have died as the results of wildfires in Oregon and on Wednesday the Lionshead Fire in Marion County grew to 203,420 acres, the first in the state to surpass 200,000 acres.

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The Lionshead Fire was 15% contained on Wednesday and the next largest blaze, the 150,230-acre Slater Fire in Josephine County, was 24% contained.

In Washington, a 1-year-old boy remains the only wildfire death as the Pearl Hill Fire, the largest in the state at 223,730 acres, was 97% contained and the Cold Springs Fire has burned 189,923 acres at 95% containment.

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