Fires continue to test crews around US

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Crews continued to work to contain wildfires around the U.S. on Wednesday as two new large blazes were reported the previous day, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). 

One fire started in Pennsylvania and another was reported in Missouri. 

Since Jan. 1, more than 1 million acres have been burned. 

FIRE SEASON OFF TO A DANGEROUS START WITH ALMOST 1 MILLION ACRES ALREADY BURNED

Across the country, nearly 3,700 wildland firefighters and support personnel are assigned to 11 large fires. 

Fire crews made progress on a large prairie fire in southwestern Nebraska on Tuesday, where more than 200 firefighters are battling the blaze. 

Travis Hopkins looks for salvageable objects at a historic barn that was burned down at his home after a wildfire burned through parts near Highway 89 in northeast Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S. April 24, 2022. Picture taken April 24, 2022. 

Travis Hopkins looks for salvageable objects at a historic barn that was burned down at his home after a wildfire burned through parts near Highway 89 in northeast Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S. April 24, 2022. Picture taken April 24, 2022. 
(Antranik Tavitian/USA Today Network via REUTERS)

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday that the Road 702 fire engulfed 41,448 acres and was 74% contained.

The fire killed a former volunteer fire chief, injured several firefighters and destroyed several homes last week.

NEBRASKA WILDFIRES KILL EX-FIRE CHIEF, HURT 15 FIREFIGHTERS

In the Southwest, efforts to corral fires in northern New Mexico, where several evacuations remain in place, were the focus. 

The Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fires, which merged over the weekend, stretched 61,470 acres and were 20% contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service in the Santa Fe National Forest.

David Barthman, 74, stands in front of his completely burned down guest home as residents were allowed to return to their homes after a wildfire burned through parts near Highway 89 in northeast Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S. April 24, 2022. Picture taken April 24, 2022. 

David Barthman, 74, stands in front of his completely burned down guest home as residents were allowed to return to their homes after a wildfire burned through parts near Highway 89 in northeast Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S. April 24, 2022. Picture taken April 24, 2022. 
(Antranik Tavitian/USA Today Network via REUTERS)

Authorities have begun to assess the damage, but have yet to tally the number of homes and other buildings that were destroyed.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declared states of emergency in four counties last week. 

Meanwhile, Arizona’s Tunnel Fire is now 30% contained and has scorched 19,344 acres. 

The wildfire, on the outskirts of Flagstaff, burned 30 homes and additional structures last week. 

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Winds are expected to pick up again in the Southwest in the coming days. 

The threat of increased fire danger weather across the U.S. is expected to continue into the summer, according to a recent outlook issued by the NIFC.

Wildfire has become a year-round threat in the West. Scientists have said that problems have been exacerbated by decades of fire suppression and poor management along with a more than 20-year megadrought that studies link to human-caused climate change.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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