A massive wildfire in Nevada’s Mojave Desert that has destroyed thousands of homes and businesses is threatening a $2 billion interstate highway linking the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.
State and federal officials are bracing for a major loss of life and property as flames from the massive blaze rage on.
The blaze has burned nearly 7,000 acres (2,800 hectares) of desert grassland, threatening more than 40,000 homes.
It has also destroyed more than $1 billion worth of property in the state, according to a report from the National Interagency Fire Center.
Authorities say the fire is the worst to hit the state in a decade, with about 10 percent of homes destroyed or damaged.
Some 1,200 firefighters are battling the blaze, which has been burning on and off since Monday.
“We’re expecting that this is going to be a really dangerous situation and that we’re going to have to be very careful and very careful in how we manage that fire, and in how quickly we manage the situation,” said State Fire Marshal Matt Mazzola.
Mazzola said the fire, which is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) northwest of Las Vegas, is expected to burn through about 2,000 square miles (6,600 square kilometers) of territory by the end of the day.
The fires have already destroyed a school, a hotel and a medical center.
The National Interactive Fire Center (NIFFC) in Colorado said that at least 5,500 homes and 11,000 buildings have been destroyed.
The National Weather Service in Boulder said temperatures are expected to reach about 40 degrees (10 Celsius) by the afternoon.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has ordered a halt to clearing and burning in parts of the desert, and the National Guard is helping with the evacuation of more than 400,000 people in Nevada.
Brian Sandoval said his state is already on high alert for a “significant” wildfire in the Mojave, but the situation has become more dangerous as the wildfire spread.
“This is going beyond what you can imagine,” Sandoval told CNN.
“The risk is high.”
Sandoval also said he has been assured that no one else will be harmed by the fire.
The blaze is also threatening to break up an interstate highway that links Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
It is one of the deadliest wildfires in U.K. history, killing 1,848 people and destroying more than 2,200 homes.
The fire was fueled by a powerful drought and high winds.
The fires destroyed hundreds of homes in the Las Vegas area.
The Nevada Department of Transportation and the Nevada Highway Patrol said a major fire was burning in the desert near Las Vegas on Wednesday.
The state fire marshal said the blaze is not threatening anyone else in the area.
He said he believes it could be isolated and contained for the time being.
The wildfire is being helped by an evacuation order from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.N. agency responsible for responding to fires.
The evacuations were lifted for the San Francisco area by Thursday.
Nevadas emergency management agency said it was working with the U,S.
Forest Service, the National Weather Agency, National Guard and local governments to plan evacuations for people living in the San Bernardino, California, area, the NIFFC said.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department is working with local and state authorities to plan the evacuation and is using “the best available resources to make the best decisions,” it said.
The San Bernardino County Fire and Rescue Department and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department are coordinating the evacuation efforts.
The NIFSC also said it will be sending its teams to the Mojaves fire to assess the situation.