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Firefighting resources pushed to the limit as dozens of wildfires burn across U.S. and Canada

Fire officials are seeing resources stretched to the limit as scores of wildfires burn across the U.S. and Canada amid hot, dry conditions.

Threat level: In Oregon, officials have called in firefighting support from outside the Pacific Northwest — as the biggest blaze in the U.S., the Bootleg Fire, swelled to 537 square miles Monday.

  • The potential for more "dry lightning" has left the Oregon officials concerned that more wildfires could ignite, so they've turned to authorities in Arkansas, Nevada and Alaska for equipment including fire engines, according to a statement by Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest officials Monday.
  • In California, the Beckwourth Complex fire, comprising two blazes in the Plumas National Forest, was 88% contained Monday. So firefighters who hadn't been redeployed were "recovering equipment" and preparing for the potential of new wildfires, officials told the Los Angeles Times.
  • In Canada, evacuees from fires in British Colombia's interior were struggling to find vacant accommodation.

Currently we have a competition over evacuee accommodation in the interior of BC. Too many fires impacting too many communities. Thinking of all those trying to respond and provide services during such a complex situation.

— Amy Christianson (@ChristiansonAmy) July 20, 2021

By the numbers: 80 large wildfires have burned nearly 1.2 million acres across 13 U.S. western states — including 18 in Montana, 17 in Idaho, and nine in California, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

  • "At least 2,000 homes" in Oregon have been evacuated from the Bootleg Fire at some point, as it swells by miles every day — with a further 5,000 properties threatened, per AP. "At least 70 homes and more than 100 outbuildings have gone up in flames," the agency notes.
  • In California, evacuation orders were in effect in Alpine County, near the Nevada state line, as the Tamarack Fire that's razed 23,000 acres continued to burn uncontained.
  • Canadian firefighters are battling hundreds of wildfires in British Columbia — including 150 new fires that erupted over the weekend, Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center data shows.
  • Hundreds of new evacuation orders were issued in the province, as the Inkaneep Creek Fire swelled to more than 1,700 acres Monday night, CBC notes.

Driving the news: Many of the wildfires started amid an unprecedented heat wave that scientists say was driven by human-caused climate change.

Go deeper: FEMA chief heads West as large wildfires rage, heat wave peaks

Vaccine mandates are suddenly much more popular

State governments, private businesses and even part of the federal government are suddenly embracing mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for their employees.

Why it matters: Vaccine mandates have been relatively uncommon in the U.S. But with vaccination rates stagnating and the Delta variant driving yet another wave of cases, there's been a new groundswell of support for such requirements.

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American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Team USA's Carissa Moore won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's surfing final, at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

The big picture: Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold medal in the inaugural men's Olympic surfing contest. The finals were brought forward a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nepartak.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Activist Tong Ying-kit found guilty of terrorism in first Hong Kong security law trial

Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be charged and tried under Hong Kong's national security law was found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession by three judges Tuesday, per Bloomberg.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

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What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

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North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Pelosi expected to extend proxy voting as Delta variant surges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

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