High temperatures spark wildfires in southern California
LOS ANGELES — Excessive heat hit southern California this weekend, with the high temperature in some areas reaching 42 C. 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 fire that started early on Saturday afternoon i n California’s Santa Barbara County had spread to both sides of Highway 154 and was “completely out of control,” county fire Captain Dave Zaniboni said.
About 90 children and 50 counselors were struck at the Circle V Ranch and had to take shelter there until they could be safely evacuated.
Some 17 wildfires in various states of containment were burning in California on Saturday, from the Six Rivers National Forest in the north to the San Bernardino Forest east of Los Angeles.
An excessive heat warning has been extended until 11:00 pm (0600 GMT) for much of southern California, with te mperature records being broken across the region.
Downtown Los Angeles tied the 1954 record of 36 C while the city’s northwestern suburb of Woodland Hills reached a high of 42.7 C, breaking the record of 42.2 C set in 2006.
“Dangerous and potentially life-threatening heat is expected through (today), when high temperatures between 100 and 110 degrees are expected for many interior sections of southwest Cali-
Dangerous and potentially lifethreatening heat is expected...” US National Weather Service
fornia,” the National Weather Service said in a statement.
The weather ser vice attributed the heat wave to a “strong upper-level highpressure system centered over the desert southwest,” adding that the heatwave could continue i nto Sunday.
“Hot temperatures will create a dangerous situation in which there is an increased threat of heat-related illnesses. The extended heat wave will also bring elevated fire weather conditions through the weekend,” said the NWS.
California Governor Jerry Brown in April declared the official end of t he state’s drought t hat lasted more than five years.
But he kept in place water reporting requirements, as well as bans on practices like watering during or following rainfall and hosing off sidewalks.
“This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” Brown said in a statement.
“Conservation must remain a way of life.”