15/07 – 08:51
Beverly Houdyshell returned to her home in a small town in Northern California this week and found only ashes and debris. The 79-year-old was among thousands of people evacuated from wildfire along the Nevada border, but she and other residents of Doyle, a mountain community of about 600 people, have been allowed to return as the fire has already burned in the area. In total, about three thousand people living in Lassen and Plumas counties in rural Northern California remain evacuated while crews work to contain wildfire ignited by lightning. Firefighters are making headway on the Beckwourth Complex, a combined pair of flames that blackened more than 145 square miles (375 square kilometers) near the Nevada state line. Dozens of buildings burned across Doyle, including several houses. Houdyshell now lives with her granddaughter, who also lives in Doyle. Firefighters have contained about a quarter of the fire but still expect extreme fire activity throughout the week. Forest fires have burned in ten parched western states that have set houses on fire and forced thousands to evacuate. Nearly 60 large, active forest fires burn from Alaska to Wyoming. The largest fire in the United States is the Bootleg Fire in Oregon. It remains out of control after an area more than twice the size of Portland burned down and power lines to California were cut. The fires broke out when, within a few weeks, the West had a second attack of dangerous temperatures under control. Scientists say a mega-drought fueled by climate change also contributes to conditions that make fires even more dangerous.