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A helicopter dropping water on the Sugar Fire near Doyle, Calif., on July 12. Photo: Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

More than 14,200 wildland firefighters have responded to 67 major fires primarily across the Western United States that have burned approximately 918,000 acres, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The West is in the midst of a climate change-fueled megadrought and its third heatwave of the summer, both of which are contributing to substantial and mostly uncontained fires that have forced thousands of people to evacuate and claimed an undetermined number of homes, according to AP.

The Bootleg Fire, located 15 miles northwest of Beatty, Oregon, is the largest active wildfire in the country, burning at least 201,923 acres so far and threatening several homes. It was 0% contained as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

  • Beckwourth Complex is the largest active incident in California. The two large fires that make up the complex have burned 92,988 acres and were 46% contained as of Tuesday morning.
  • The River Fire near Yosemite National Park jumped to 9,500 acres on Tuesday, claiming at least eight structures and threatening 600 more, according to KTLA.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: The West faces a long and potentially devastating wildfire season, with a severe drought locked in place and a series of extreme heat events leading to some of the most combustible conditions scientists have yet observed in some areas.

  • Human-caused climate change has made the heat events, including the Pacific Northwest's recent deadly heatwave, significantly more severe.
  • Separate from these heat events, studies also show global warming is amplifying the risks of large wildfires in parts of the West, with the typical peak of the season still about two months away.

The big picture: Since June 1, at least 67 weather stations have recorded temperatures that either tied or broke all-time heat records, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

  • So far this year, around 33,953 wildfires have burned an estimated 2 million acres, according to the NIFC.

What to watch: The NWS said the heatwave will continue for much of the Western U.S. through Wednesday before slightly cooler temperatures arrive later this week.

Go deeper: Last month was the hottest June on record for the U.S.

Go deeper

Sequoia National Park Forest wraps trees in foil as wildfires approach

View of giant sequoias in Sequoia National Park. Photo: Anne Loustaunou/Corbis via Getty Images

Sequoia National Park Forest officials have wrapped giant sequoia tree trunks in aluminum foil insulation due to two uncontained California wildfires that are projected to spread toward the park.

Why it matters: Giant sequoias are unaffected by most wildfires, but among the trees currently under threat is The General Sherman Tree, which is approximately 2,300 to 2,700 years old.

15 mins ago - World

UN chief urges U.S. and China to fix "dysfunctional relationship"

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during a Sept. 13 press conference in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / Coffini/AFP via Getty Images

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres raised concerns in an interview with AP, published Monday, of another Cold War between the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Guterres made the comments ahead of this week's UN General Assembly in New York. Guterres told AP the U.S.-U.K. deal to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia "is just one small piece of a more complex puzzle ... this completely dysfunctional relationship between China and the United States."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

FBI says human remains found in Wyoming likely Gabby Petito

Gabby Petito. Photo: FBI

Human remains found in Teton County, Wyoming, are "consistent with the description of" missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito, FBI Denver official Charles Jones said at a news conference Sunday.

Details: The cause of death had yet to be determined, but Jones said: "Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery." Authorities said they're continuing the search for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.

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