Massive wildfires are tearing across the Southwest — and the images are unreal

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Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The West is having a major heatwave, with temperatures hitting more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas.

And along with the heat are coming some damaging wildfires in southern California, New Mexico, and Arizona covering tens of thousands of acres of land and displacing hundreds of families. Firefighters are working to contain the blazes, though the continued heat wave through the weekend could complicate things.

Check out some of the striking snapshots of the massive fires over the week.


In southern California, the “Sherpa Fire” broke out Wednesday afternoon around Santa Barbara. Here, a firefighter fends off flames as they come near a home in California early on Thursday morning.

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Santa Barbara County Fire Depart/AP

The smoke has made its way over the Pacific, as seen by satellite.

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NOAA View

As of Friday, it was covering more than 4,000 acres of land, and hundreds of homes have been evacuated so far.

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Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Source: LA Times


So far, it’s only about 5% contained. “You add a little bit of wind and these continued drought conditions and fires are going to threaten more homes and do more damage and take more resources,” a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman told the LA Times.

Source: LA Times


The area where the Sherpa Fire is blazing has seen more than its fair share of wildfires. In 1955, a wildfire destroyed more than 50,000 acres of land and property.

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Reuters

Here’s what the smoke looked like as of Thursday.

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Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

In New Mexico, a duo of fires have been taking over the state. The newest, called the Dog Head Fire, started Tuesday and has quickly covered 16,000 acres.

We’re now seeing HUGEplumes of thick black smoke coming from the #DogHeadFire.Here’s a video from command post. pic.twitter.com/4mgSWyRpXD

#DogHeadFirepic.twitter.com/4mgSWyRpXDJune16, 2016


The Dog Head Fire is just west of Chilili, New Mexico, forcing residents to evacuate the area. Over in the southwestern part of the state, a wildfire named the North Fire has been burning for almost a month, damaging more than 26,000 acres.

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Google Maps

Source: Weather.com


Over in Arizona, a huge fire broke out on Wednesday, covering more than 2,500 acres and creating a lot of smoke.


The smoke from the fires in New Mexico and Arizona made it all the way up to Colorado, leading to some air quality alerts.

Source: Denver Post


In particular, the California fire seems worrisome, with the LA Times calling it a “bad omen” for the rest of the fire season. And a heat wave expected to hit the area through Tuesday will only make matters worse by taking out any remaining moisture that could fend off the fire.

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Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Source: LA Times