32.5 C
Brunei
Thursday, September 29, 2022
32.5 C
Brunei
Thursday, September 29, 2022
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    California wildfires threaten mountain communities

    LOS ANGELES (AP) – Firefighters yesterday struggled to control raging California wildfires that have grown explosively during extreme heat and forced thousands of residents to flee mountain communities at both ends of the state.

    The Fairview Fire in Southern California covered about 37 square miles of Riverside County and was just five per cent contained. Two people died while fleeing flames on Monday and at least 11 structures have been destroyed. More than 18,000 homes were threatened by the fire fed by shifting winds, officials said on Thursday evening.

    To the north in the Sierra Nevada, the Mosquito Fire burned out of control, scorching at least 20 square miles and threatening 3,600 homes in Placer and El Dorado counties, while blanketing the region in smoke.

    Flames jumped the American River, burning structures in the mountain hamlet of Volcanoville and moving closer to the towns of Foresthill, home to about 1,500 people, and Georgetown, population 3,000. Fire spokesperson Chris Vestal called the fast-moving blaze an “extreme and critical fire threat”.

    About 100 miles to the east, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection warned the Reno area that air quality could be very unhealthy to hazardous due to smoke from the Mosquito Fire.

    Another dangerous blaze burned in stands of timber near the Big Bear Lake resort region in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles. It was just two per cent contained after scorching nearly two square miles.

    California faced other weather threats as an oppressive heat wave strained the state power grid and moisture from a tropical storm threatened to unleash thunderstorms and floods.

    A surge of clouds and showers associated with Tropical Storm Kay off Mexico’s Baja California peninsula knocked the edge off temperatures in Southern California at times but also were a potential problem for solar generation. The storm was downgraded from a hurricane on Thursday evening.

    Firefighters battle the Mosquito Fire in California. PHOTO: AP
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