Hundreds Of Flights Delayed As Wildfires Rage Across Western US

(Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Hundreds of flights were delayed Monday at Denver International Airport, one of the nation’s busiest airports, due to haze and smoke resulting from wildfires raging across the western U.S.

There were 543 delayed flights into and out of the Denver airport Monday, according to data from FlightAware. The airport’s public information officer Alex Renteria told CBS4 that delays were caused by planes having to be spaced out due to visibility along with weather issues across the nation.

Renteria said the Federal Aviation Administration instituted a traffic management program for flights arriving at the airport Monday morning. The smoke was expected to get worse later in the afternoon, though airport officials said the situation in the Denver metro area was not worse than it has been, CBS4 reported.

Wildfires have also disrupted fuel supply at airports such as Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana, according to CNN. There were 32 delayed flights into and out of the Bozeman airport Monday, according to data from FlightAware.

The airport’s director Brian Springer told CNN in an email Sunday that airlines “have had their fuel delivery due to increased fire suppression needs throughout the West that has diminished supply in Montana.”

National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) data showed late Monday that 80 active wildfires are raging across 13 states, burning down more than 1.17 million acres of land in mostly western states.

Three large wildfires are currently burning in Colorado, according to fire hazard data from The Coloradoan. The Muddy Slide and Sylvan fires began spreading in late June but are mostly contained, though the Morgan Creek fire that sparked last Friday has not been contained at all, The Denver Post reported. (RELATED: Wildfires Spread Through California And Arizona As Drought Continues)

A number of wildfires were reported in California earlier this month, fueled by hot weather and dry conditions resulting from an ongoing heat wave in the Pacific Northwest. The Bootleg Fire in neighboring Oregon is now the largest wildfire in the U.S. and has burned more than 200,000 acres in the state since July 6.