Wildfires 2018 Map: Where Pawnee, 416 and Other Largest Fires Are Burning in California, Colorado and Elsewhere

Wildfire season has descended upon the western United States, and large wildfires have sparked in California, Colorado, Utah and other states. The largest of the fires—the Buzzard Fire in New Mexico—stands at more than 50,000 acres. And in Lake County, California, a state of emergency has been declared in the wake of the fast-moving Pawnee Fire.

Here, Newsweek takes a look at the largest fires burning in the U.S. and how much progress firefighters have made in containing them.

Buzzard Fire

Gila National Forest, near Reserve, New Mexico

50,296 acres, 85 percent contained

The Buzzard Fire looms largest of all the fires currently confronting the western United States. The fire, now at 50,296 acres, has been burning for more than a month, but the flames were about 85 percent contained Tuesday. Firefighters expected to reach full containment by July 5.

The fire danger in the Gila National Forest, where the Buzzard Fire was burning, was still rated “very high” this week, and the area remained closed.

A total of 109 fire personnel were on the scene to combat the fire, which was caused by human action, authorities said. The fire was apparently sparked by an abandoned illegal campfire, KOB-TV reported.

416 Fire

Durango, Colorado

35,195 acres, 36 percent contained

Burning approximately 13 miles north of Durango, Colorado, the 416 Fire started June 1. The 35,195 acre fire was about 36 percent contained Tuesday, while 459 fire personnel worked to further the containment.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation. The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) warned of the potential for increased fire activity Tuesday due to rising temperatures and winds and decreasing humidity.

The fire initially prompted the evacuation of many residents in the area. They were later allowed to return home, though some communities remained on pre-evacuation notice. U.S. Highway 550, closed for a period, was reopened. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said that state, federal, county and municipal departments were working together to fight the 416 Fire and others like it in the state.

Rattlesnake Fire

Near Alpine, Arizona

26,072 acres, 90 percent contained

Although the Rattlesnake Fire near Alpine, Arizona, proved massive, the wildfire was about 90 percent contained Tuesday. Authorities expected little to no growth in the coming days.

It remained unclear what started the fire on April 11. A little more than 40 fire personnel remained on the scene working to fully contain the flames.

Badger Creek Fire

Near Mountain Home, Wyoming

20,537 acres, 94 percent contained

The 20,357 acre Badger Creek Fire was almost fully contained Tuesday, assisted by rains in the area, the NWCG confirmed. About 140 firefighters were still working at the scene.

The cause of the fire, which started June 10, remained unknown. Authorities expected hot and dry weather to persist throughout the coming week, though fire behavior was reported as “minimal.”

Parts of the Medicine Bow National Forest remained closed due to the fire.

“There is still fire activity in the interior of the fire,” Badger Creek Fire Information Officer Jackie Parks said Friday, according to Wyoming Public Media. “There are pockets of unburned fuel, grasses and trees that didn’t burn initially. And that’s why we still have the area closure in place, because there is fire activity.”

Trail Mountain Fire

Manti-La Sal National Forest, Utah

17,697 acres, 79 percent contained

What began as a prescribed burn that escaped its designated area due to high winds grew to a 17,697 acre wildfire in central Utah. The Trail Mountain Fire was almost 80 percent contained by Tuesday. Authorities expected the fire to reach full containment by July 11.

At least one structure, a cabin, was burned in the fire.

Officials expected a slight increase in fire activity Tuesday due to hot and dry conditions. Some 347 fire personnel remained on the scene to contain the flames. Parts of the Manti-La Sal National Forest remained closed.

Pawnee Fire

Lake County, California

11,500 Acres, 5 percent contained

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Lake County this week due to the rapidly spreading Pawnee Fire. Now at 11,500 acres, the fire prompted mandatory evacuation orders for the nearby Spring Valley community. Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes as the wildfire continued to spread.

Low humidity, “erratic winds,” and above-normal temperatures contributed to the spread of the fire early this week, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The Pawnee Fire was only 5 percent contained Tuesday afternoon. At least 22 structures had already been destroyed, and an estimated 600 more were threatened by the flames. A total of 247 fire personnel were on the scene, utilizing 32 fire engines, two helicopters and additional equipment to combat the blaze.

Wildfire Map 2018 The Pawnee Fire and 416 Fire are among the largest wildfires still burning in the western United States. InciWeb

An interactive map is available here.

Join the Discussion