Thousands of firefighters battling massive wildfires in western U.S.

California wildfires burn 80,000 acres
California wildfires burn 80,000 acres 01:49

YOLO COUNTY, Calif. -- Across the West, firefighters are battling dozens of wildfires, and one of the biggest is in Yolo County, California.

On Wednesday, firefighting helicopters flew into thick smoke to fight a fire that's burned more than 80,000 acres in three rural counties west of Sacramento. Nearly 3,000 firefighters have been working around the clock, lighting backfires and building a containment line, in an effort to keep the flames at bay.

The wildfire is also threatening more than 1,000 homes and buildings, and hundreds of residents were told to evacuate.

"It's a little nerve-racking because grass fires move so fast," said Steve Black, one property owner.

The fear now is that the fire could overtake a mountain highway that's used by travelers heading to Lake Berryessa, a popular holiday destination. Intense smoke has already snuffed out Fourth of July celebrations there.  

Drone Fourth of July shows 02:03

Wildfires also continue to rage in Colorado, where the Spring Fire alone has devoured an area larger than the size of Detroit, leaving 100 homes destroyed.

In Utah, officials ordered more residents to leave, as firefighters struggled to contain fast-moving flames east of Salt Lake City.

Back in Yolo County, Chris Turkovich says he worries about his family's vineyard.

"The grapes will actually absorb some of that smoke, and that's a big problem," he said.

Wildfires across the country have already ravaged more than 2 million acres, well above the national average for this time of the year.

  • John Blackstone
    John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.