York Fire Now 63% Contained, Wildfire Involves Almost 97K Acres

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The massive wildfire that has expanded from California into Nevada is about 63% contained as of Thursday morning, officials reported.

Joshua trees enflamed from the York Fire, pictured above. The trees are environmentally significant, and many were damaged during the wildfire. (Image: CNN)

That is a major increase from about one-third of the blaze reportedly being contained as of Wednesday night.

The fire now involves 96,732 acres, according to recent news reports, including some 8,580 acres located in Southern Nevada, according to Las Vegas TV station KSNV.

Called the York Fire, officials predict it will move northeast in the next few days, but that it will be completely contained by August 14.

The blaze is California’s largest fire so far this year, and numerous firefighters are stationed across the region in an effort to contain and suppress the wildfire.

Rain Helped Out

Recent monsoonal rain assisted in firefighters’ efforts to contain the wildfire, especially along the southern end of the blaze, the Associated Press reported. However, weather conditions are expected to be dry in the next few days in the impacted regions of California and Nevada.

The vast fire is causing ecosystem concerns and is endangering many of California’s iconic Joshua trees.

Fire whirls, also known as fire tornadoes, were seen in California’s Mojave National Preserve during the fire. They are explained as “a vortex of flames and smoke that forms when intense heat and turbulent winds combine, creating a spinning column of fire,” the Mojave National Preserve said in a statement quoted by CNN.

The fire’s environmental impact was also seen in the Las Vegas Valley earlier this week. Lower visibility caused by smoke and haze from the wildfire led to some flight delays at Harry Reid International Airport.

Various areas in Clark County also saw worsening air quality from smoke. These included such communities as Sunrise Manor, neighborhoods near Interstate 515, Spring Valley, Green Valley, and Boulder City. The fire also led to the temporary closing of State Road 164 in Searchlight, Nev. on Sunday because of the wildfire.

Medical Impact

Todd Kuhnwald, a physician’s assistant with Las Vegas-based MK Medical, earlier this week told Las Vegas TV station KLAS, his office was seeing patients suffering from fire-related illnesses.

The smoke in the air is affecting our patients personally, so we’ve had patients come in with asthma exacerbations, trouble breathing, sore throats, headaches, nausea, shortness of breath,” Kuhnwald told KLAS.

A regional utility company, NV Energy, assigned its crews to remove dry grass and brush around utility poles and other infrastructure to reduce the risk of fire damage and potential health-related issues caused by the blaze. The poles also were wrapped with fire-resistant mesh, according to Las Vegas TV station KVVU.

The blaze began at about noon last Friday in California’s Mojave National Preserve and made its way into Nevada’s Clark County on Sunday.

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