Fire Crews in California Battling Blazes in Extreme Heat

August 17, 2020

California firefighters battled destructive wildfires Monday as a lengthening heat wave roasted the state.

Thousands of homes were at risk and air quality deteriorated in areas affected by smoke.

The National Weather Service blanketed the state in warnings of excessive heat and high fire danger, including the threat from lightning strikes.

“We are all experiencing rather extraordinary conditions,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, estimating there were about 15 fires statewide.

Newsom expressed optimism that most of the smaller ones would be suppressed relatively quickly.

Near California’s northern border with Nevada, a nearly 57-square-mile fire ignited by lightning near the community of Loyalton was 5% contained after destroying five homes and a half-dozen other structures, the Tahoe National Forest said.

In the mountains and desert of northern Los Angeles County, the 6-day-old Lake Fire was 31% contained after scorching nearly 29 square miles, said county Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

The blaze, which consumed thousands of acres of brush in its first few hours, had more moderate behavior by Sunday but about 4,500 homes remained at risk, Barger said.

A dozen structures, including homes, have been destroyed there.

Elsewhere, the 4-square-mile River Fire south of Salinas in Monterey County was 10% surrounded after damaging five structures.

Authorities reported four people injured since it was ignited by lightning on Sunday.

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