Ferocity of US wildfires revealed as forest camera swamped by flames

The ferocity and speed of US wildfires has been caught from a unique perspective, with a forest camera revealing what it’s like to face an oncoming wall of flames.

Several huge fires have destroyed dozens of homes in America’s west and the time-lapse video from Indian Falls in northern California shows the moment the camera is engulfed.

Thick black smoke appears on the horizon before huge flames come into view, flaring into the sky.

The Dixie Fire has burned more than 200,000 acres. Pic: AP
Image:The Dixie Fire has burned more than 200,000 acres. Pic: AP

The blaze – part of the Dixie Fire – moves ominously through the trees, eventually filling the frame with a storm of smoke and fire before the camera is knocked out.

The Dixie Fire has burned an area bigger than New York City, but was partially contained on Tuesday as cooler, wetter weather moved in.

“This wet stuff fell out of the sky yesterday that I barely remembered and recognized,” said incident commander Dan Dallas.

Hotter, drier conditions are forecast for the end of the week, however, and more than 10,000 homes are still threatened in the area – about 175 miles (282km) north of San Francisco.

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In Oregon to the north, the Bootleg Fire – which was started by lightning and is the largest in the US – has so far destroyed 161 homes, 247 outbuildings and 342 vehicles.

It has scorched nearly 641 square miles (1,660 sq km) of land.

The Bootleg Fire in Oregon was started by lightning
Image:The Bootleg Fire in Oregon was started by lightning and is the largest in the US

Fire crews in the state were also expecting a respite on Wednesday due to cooler, damper weather before it’s forecast to turn hot and dry again.

Smoke from the wildfires has spread to Montana, as well as parts of Idaho and Wyoming, causing unhealthy pollution levels, according to government monitoring stations.

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Western USA ravaged by wildfires

Nearly 80 wildfires have burned more than 2,300 square miles (6,000 sq km) combined across 11 western states and Alaska, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Scientists say climate change has made the region much warmer and drier in the last 30 years and will continue to make such fires more frequent and destructive.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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