Hundreds Rescued From California Wildfires amid Record Temperatures
More than 200 people have been flown to safety as a rapid wildfire cut off the only road out of the popular Mammoth Pool Reservoir in the embattled US state of California.
Some twenty evacuees were taken to area hospitals, according to the Madera County Sheriff, as the fast-moving Creek Fire that began on Friday night grew to burn some 14,500 hectares. It forced evacuations and road closures in the Fresno area in central California.
As of Sunday morning, nearly 15,000 firefighters were battling twenty-three fires across America’s most populous state, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Three major fires, including the Creek Fire, were burning in Fresno, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, the agency said in a statement. It said it had increased staffing in preparation for “critical fire weather.”
During the weekend, a deadly heat wave baked swathes of the western US, as many locations in California registered record-high temperatures 49.4 degrees Celsius.
Eight people have so far died in the fires and nearly 3,300 structures have been destroyed.
The National Weather Service warned early Monday that “sweltering” heat would continue, with gusty winds and low humidity creating ideal conditions for further wildfires.
Authorities urged residents to switch off appliances and lights to help avoid blackouts from an overwhelmed power grid.
California, which has suffered many wild blazes in the past, is also battling the deadly coronavirus, with the state accounting for the highest number of infections in the US.