Wildfires rage throughout California

LOS ANGELES — An excessive heat hit southern California this weekend, with the high temperature in some areas reaching 107 Fahrenheit degrees (about 42 degrees centigrade).

This is also a tough weekend for 2,300 firefighters battling wildfires which have raged in much of the state and whose size exceeds records over past years.

The latest reported huge fire on the Chinese Wall Road, Butte County, erupted at 3 p.m. local time (2200 GMT) on Friday, burning about 2,000 acres (about 8.09 square km).

An immediate evacuation order was lifted by Butte County Fire Department. The Chinese Wall Road to Bangor Highway was closed during the evacuation, and the road was reopened on Saturday.

The fire in the area destroyed 10 homes, injuring six people, including five residents and a crew member, according to the report of the Cal Fire Department website.

Most of the lawns in California were nourished by abundant rain and snow last winter, and have now become fuel for wildfires. California Fire Department reported 2,135 wildland fires by June 25, which burned more than 20,000 acres (about 80.9 square km), according to the report of Sacramento Bee, a local newspaper.

The fire in Yolo County started at 10 a.m. local time (1700 GMT) on Thursday, which burned about 2,035 acres (about 8.2 square km). To control the fire, 509 firefighters were sent to the scene, along with 55 fire engines, 12 bulldozers and four helicopters.

In addition, two engines from Sacramento Metro fire and three from the Sacramento Fire Department were dispatched to help combat the fire, which injured a person and caused Highway 128 to be partly closed.

“In California, we’ve got about 2,300 firefighters out on the lines right now, we are going into triple digits and it’s tough on the firefighters to deal with the heat, but they are all doing really well,” Lynne Tolmachoff, a spokeswoman of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told Sacramento Bee.

The blaze of Alamo Fire burning between Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County spread rapidly since Thursday afternoon. By Friday afternoon, the fire size grew from 500 acres (about 2 square km) to more than 3,000 acres (about 12.1 square km). The size doubled again overnight to nearly 6,000 acres (about 24.2 square km), according to the information updated on the Cal Fire Website.

Fire department officials pointed out that as Alamo Fire would reach up to 100 Fahrenheit degrees (about 37.7 degrees centigrade) during the weekend and the humidity there is just about 20 percent, the fire size could be doubled to 12,000 acres (about 48.4 square km) on Saturday.

The location of Alamo Fire was on northbound Highway 166. The crews were trying to protect Tepusquet Canyon, while the extreme heat, low humidity and winds from the northeast hindered their efforts, officials said.

Nearly 200 homes got mandatory evacuation orders Friday, including the residents living on White Rock Lane, Tepusquet Road, south of Blazing Saddle Drive. The evacuation order was still effective on Saturday, while some people chose to stay. Six people went to the Red Cross Shelter Friday night in the Minami Community Center in Santa Maria. Six large animals were also sheltered at the Elks Rodeo. The area along Highway 166 was closed, Los Angeles Times reported.

Two wildfires erupted in Kern County on Friday, scorching 2,940 acres (about 11.8 square km) and 1,626 acres (about 6.5 square km) were quickly burned out. In the fire danger season, state firefighters usually are continually dispatched to put out fires.

According to a report of National Interagency Fire Center, more than 32,000 fires have been reported over 3.2 million acres (about 12,950 square km) so far this year, an increase of about 800,000 acres (about 3,237 square km) over last year at this point. Sputnik-northboundasia.com