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Crews battling a large fire that has incinerated more than 190,000 acres (77,000 hectares) in northern California prepare for the possibility on Sunday that smoke columns may produce lightning storms capable of igniting more blazes.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the all-encompassing Dixie fire in Butte County, north of Sacramento, gained ground Saturday and was only 21% contained as of Sunday.
The Dixie fire joined another one nearby on Saturday night, and firefighters have fought to contain the blazes that have produced evacuations in several communities.
"There is a high probability for the smoke columns to develop what we call a pyrophoric (cloud)," fire behavior analyst Dennis Burn said in a video message posted on the Facebook page of Lassen National Forest.
With the Dixie fire encroaching, the Plumas County Sheriff's Office issued mandatory evacuation orders for the eastern shore of Lake Almanor where "personnel are conducting door to door notifications."
An evacuation shelter was set-up in the city of Susanville, and five other areas were placed under evacuation warnings.
In Oregon, crews battling the Bootleg fire faced the "warmest and driest" day for the next several days, fire officials said on Sunday.
Between Quincy and Greenville. A route I’ve called on before. All the biggest California fires this year seem to be in the Eastern Sierras within 2-3 hours of us. https://t.co/jSotb7QJP5
Officials from an interagency task force said that more than 2,200 personnel were combating the Bootleg fire.
"Evacuations are dynamic," the officials said, publishing an interactive map with warnings such as "Go (Leave immediately)" and "Be Set (Prepare to leave at a moment's notice)."
The Bootleg fire is one of more than 86 large active wildfires in 12 states that have covered more than 1.4 million acres in recent weeks, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho.
The events in the U.S. West, marking a heavier-than-normal start of the wildfire season, have coincided with record-shattering heat that has cooked much of the region in recent weeks and led to hundreds of deaths.