- Thunderstorms in many areas could bring welcome rainfall, storms could also cause flash floods.
- The Dixie Fire in California covered nearly 388 square miles of mountains where 42 homes and other buildings were destroyed.
- Forest fires emit huge volumes of microscopic smoke particles which researchers believe can be harmful.
The Bootleg fire in Oregon was up to 84% containment early Monday as firefighters advanced over the weekend battling the blaze, which is the nation’s largest at 646 square miles.
Elsewhere, authorities have canceled evacuation orders near the Dixie Fire in Northern California and another on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Despite the good news, authorities have warned that with unpredictable winds and extremely dry fuels across the west, the risk of flare-ups remains high. In addition, while thunderstorms forecast in many areas could bring welcome precipitation, storms could also cause flash floods.
Places left without vegetation by the eruption of wildfires throughout the west are particularly prone to flash floods when bombarded by heavy rains.
Flash flood watches were in effect for mountainous areas in seven western states, from Montana to New Mexico, the National Weather Service said.
Nearly 22,000 firefighters and support personnel were battling 91 large active wildfires covering 2,813 square miles in most western states, the National Interagency Fire Center said.
Mixed blessing:Southwest monsoon rains alleviate drought – but also dangerous flooding
The Dixie Fire in California covered nearly 388 square miles of mountains where 42 homes and other buildings were destroyed. The fire was 35% under control on Monday morning, and evacuation orders and warnings had already been lifted for several areas.
Dry conditions and strong winds make for dangerous fire conditions in Hawaii. A wind advisory was issued Sunday for parts of Lanai, Maui and Big Island.
A rapid wildfire on the Big Island of Hawaii reached 62.5 square miles, prompting mandatory evacuation orders that forced thousands of residents from their homes. These orders were lifted on Sunday evening; however, authorities told residents to remain vigilant.
Meanwhile, air quality alerts remained in effect Monday for parts of the Northwest Interior, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and the upper Midwest due to the smoke, the National Weather Service said.
Forest fires emit huge volumes of microscopic smoke particles which researchers believe can be harmful if inhaled and have both immediate and long-term health effects. Children, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions are especially at risk.
Contributor: Jorge Ortiz, USA TODAY; The Associated Press