Maps show where wildfires are spreading in California

Updated

Firefighters across California are working to extinguish multiple wildfires — including several blazes that broke out over the weekend and others that flared up early this week — as the state contends with a mix of hot, dry weather and powerful, gusty winds.

More than 90,000 acres have burned so far this year, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire. More than half that toll came from three major fires in June. Officials have released a series of wildfire maps plotting the fires' expansion.

The largest is now the Sites Fire, in Colusa County, which was first reported Monday and quickly grew, reaching over 19,000 acres by early Thurssday. The Post Fire, burning near Gorman, northwest of Los Angeles, spread to 15,690 acres, while the Point Fire, in Sonoma, covered about 1,200 acres. Another blaze, known as the Aero Fire, in Calaveras County, scorched 5,350 acres, fanned by winds that gusted up to 60 mph.

Firefighters are battling multiple wildfires across California, as seen on this map from Tuesday, June 18, 2024. / Credit: CalFire
Firefighters are battling multiple wildfires across California, as seen on this map from Tuesday, June 18, 2024. / Credit: CalFire

Windy conditions and an overall dip in humidity over parts of California combined to create the arid and blustery conditions that allow fires to rapidly spread, the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center warned in a fire weather outlook. Meteorologists forecast elevated fire weather concerns for the Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, the western Transverse Ranges and the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range — areas of concern that collectively encompass a massive chunk of California.

The interactive map below shows recently updated data on wildfires burning in California and other states, including New Mexico — where the fast-moving South Fork Fire broke out Monday. That blaze prompted evacuations in Ruidoso, about 150 miles southeast of Albuquerque.

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Map: Grace Manthey and John Kelly / CBS News • Source: National Interagency Fire Center and Calfire

A red flag warning was in effect Wednesday for a portion of central California. The National Weather Service issues red flag warnings when the combined presence of warm temperatures, low humidity and strong winds fuel an elevated risk of fire danger.

Smoke and haze conditions were also forecast for areas of California and other Western states, stretching across southern Nevada and large expanses of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.

This map from CalFire shows areas with red flag warnings in red, and the smoke and haze forecast in yellow and orange, as of Wednesday, June 19, 2024. / Credit: CalFire
This map from CalFire shows areas with red flag warnings in red, and the smoke and haze forecast in yellow and orange, as of Wednesday, June 19, 2024. / Credit: CalFire

Cal Fire has registered at least 2,237 wildfires in total so far this year, which have burned more than 93,667 acres and destroyed at least 26 structures. No deaths have been reported in connection with the wildfires.

Post Fire

One of the largest active blazes, the Post Fire erupted as a brushfire on Saturday and prompted evacuations in Gorman, a rural community in northwestern Los Angeles County. By Tuesday morning, officials said the Post Fire had enveloped more than 15,600 acres of land in both L.A. County and neighboring Ventura, as it swept over the grassland hills of Hungry Valley State Park and moved in a southeastern direction toward Lake Pyramid.

As of midday Friday, crews had managed to contain 61% of the blaze, Cal Fire said.

More than 1,700 personnel were involved in fighting the Post Fire. "Steep terrain and brush continue to make access difficult for fire personnel," the agency said.

Air tankers dispatched from around California were flying over the area to drop fire retardant as conditions allowed, according to Cal Fire.

The Post Fire in Los Angeles County was the largest active wildfire reported in California on June 17, 2024.  / Credit: Cal Fire
The Post Fire in Los Angeles County was the largest active wildfire reported in California on June 17, 2024. / Credit: Cal Fire

"Firefighters continue to make significant progress on the Post Fire," the agency said Wednesday. "Weather conditions last night were favorable and allowed crews to increase containment lines. Today, warm and dry conditions are expected, with winds gusting around 20 MPH in the afternoon. A significant warming trend is expected to begin Thursday and continue through the weekend."

Cal Fire had said Monday that 1,200 people had been evacuated from Hungry Valley Park due to the wildfire and Pyramid Lake was closed as the flames headed closer to it. An evacuation warning was in place for people in areas south of the lake, who were advised to be prepared to leave if the wildfire expands further.

Craig Little, of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, told CBS Los Angeles that the wind "has been a major factor" in the fire's rapid spread "along with the terrain," which is already dry.

"That's all a recipe for a very quickly moving flame," he said.

Fire crews battle a hot spot at the Post Fire in northern Los Angeles County on Sunday, June 16, 2024 in Gorman, California. / Credit: Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Fire crews battle a hot spot at the Post Fire in northern Los Angeles County on Sunday, June 16, 2024 in Gorman, California. / Credit: Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Firefighters said some buildings in the area around the Post Fire were threatened Monday and two had sustained damage, but none were destroyed, CBS Los Angeles reported.

Sites Fire

The Sites Fire in Colusa County, in the northern Sacramento Valley, exploded in size to more than 19,000 acres in its first few days. It was 25% contained as of Friday. CBS Sacramento reports evacuations were ordered Monday night.

A map from CalFire shows the location of the Sites Fire, in Colusa County, as of Tuesday, June 18, 2024. / Credit: CalFire
A map from CalFire shows the location of the Sites Fire, in Colusa County, as of Tuesday, June 18, 2024. / Credit: CalFire

"Several structures are threatened, evacuations are ongoing," Cal Fire reported. "The fire is burning in a remote area and with the high winds on Monday, it had been difficult to control."

Aero Fire

The Aero Fire ignited on Monday, June 17, in Calaveras County, east of Stockton, and was over 5,300 acres by Wednesday morning, according to CalFire. The blaze is 67% contained as of Friday. Some evacuations were ordered.

The fire is burning in an area of grass and oak woodlands that has not experienced a large fire since 2003, CalFire said.

Map shows spread of the Aero Fire in Calaveras County, California, on June 18, 2024.  / Credit: CalFire
Map shows spread of the Aero Fire in Calaveras County, California, on June 18, 2024. / Credit: CalFire

CalFire said 945 personnel with 114 engines and other equipment were involved in fighting the Aero Fire as of Friday, and that air tankers are flying fire suppression missions as conditions allow.

Point Fire

The Point Fire, burning in the wine country area of Sonoma, north of San Francisco, was 75% contained by Friday, according to Cal Fire. The blaze had spread over 1,207 acres of land extending southeast from the bottom of Lake Sonoma.

Firefighters had contained 20% of the Point Fire, burning in Northern California's wine country, on Monday, June 17. / Credit: Cal Fire
Firefighters had contained 20% of the Point Fire, burning in Northern California's wine country, on Monday, June 17. / Credit: Cal Fire

Favorable weather conditions overnight into Tuesday allowed crews to build and strengthen wildfire control lines around the perimeter of the blaze, Cal Fire said.

"Control lines are secured around the entire perimeter of the fire," the agency said in a Wednesday morning update. "Heavy mop-up operations will be taking place inside the perimeter of the fire."

It added that "relative humidity levels are increasing, providing a huge advantage to firefighters."

A view of flames from the Point Fire burning in Healdsburg, in Sonoma County, California, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. / Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty Images
A view of flames from the Point Fire burning in Healdsburg, in Sonoma County, California, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. / Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty Images

Hundreds of people were evacuated as the Point Fire grew quickly on Sunday, while another 4,000 residents in the area were placed under an evacuation warning, CBS San Francisco reported, citing the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office. An evacuation center was established at a high school in Forestville, about 15 miles from Sonoma, according to the station.

At least two residential structures were destroyed as of Monday night, Cal Fire said.

At least one firefighter has been injured while battling the Point Fire, Cal Fire said in an incident update issued at around 6 a.m. local time Monday. The update did not give details about the nature of the injury or the circumstances surrounding it.

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