US: Carlifornia wildfires continue to blaze through state

LOS ANGELES County reported its highest ever temperature of 49.4C (121F) on Sunday as wildfires continue to burn through millions of acres in Carlifornia.

California is currently experiencing a record heatwave which has seen more than 14,000 firefighters continue to battle 24 fires across the state.

The state’s department of forestry and fire protection, Cal Fire, says “more than two million acres have burned,” more than the size of Delaware.

The largest blaze, known as the Creek Fire, has burned more than 78,000 acres since it broke out in the Sierra Mountains on Friday, and the authorities said none of it had been contained.

The fire has burned at least two dozen dwellings in the town of Big Creek, the Los Angeles Times reports.

More than 200 hikers had to be airlifted out of the popular Mammoth Pool Reservoir after becoming trapped by flames on Saturday.

Valley Fire in San Diego County has burned through more than 10,000 acres, and prompted the evacuation of the remote town of Alpine; while Bobcat fire in Angeles National Forest has destroyed nearly 5,000 acres and saw the evacuation of the Mount Wilson Observator

“El Dorado, which has spread over 7,000 acres, was started by a gender reveal party,” officials say.

Cal Fire blamed a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device, used during a gender reveal party” for starting the El Dorado fire in San Bernadino County.

In recent years, several large-scale parties have gone wrong, even resulting in the death of a woman in 2019.

Cal Fire said that, not only had two million acres already burned this year, but there had been eight fatalities and more than 3,300 structures destroyed.

Cal Fire spokesman Lynne Tolmachoff told AP that it was alarming how early the fires had begun this year.

“It’s a little unnerving because September and October are historically our worst months for fires. It’s usually hot, and the fuels really dry out. And we see more wind events.”

Although temperatures are expected to drop from Tuesday it may bring strong winds which could fan the flames, the National Weather Service warns.

States of emergency have been issued in five Californian counties – Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, San Bernardino and San Diego – and people have been urged not to hike, after one hiker died.

BBC NEWS