Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

World

California firefighters battle big wildfires in high heat

California firefighters battle big wildfires in high heat

California firefighters battle big wildfires in high heat

An air tanker drops fire retardant to battle the Salt Fire in Lakehead, California on Jul 1, 2021. (Photo: AP/Noah Berger)

REDDING, California: Hundreds of firefighters worked Thursday (Jul 1) in high heat to beat back wildfires in the forests of far Northern California, where the flames have forced many communities to evacuate.

Mount Shasta, the volcano that towers over the region, was shrouded in a haze of smoke plumes so huge they could easily be seen in images from weather satellites in space.

The scene was ominously reminiscent of last year's California wildfire season, which scorched more than 17,000 sq km, the most in recorded history.

READ: Scores dead as record-breaking heat wave grips Canada, US

Firefighters with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection work to extinguish hot spots after the Lava Fire burned through an area alongside US Highway 97 northeast of Weed, California. (Photo: AP)

An extraordinary Pacific Northwest heat wave that extended into the upper reaches of California was slowly receding, but it was only expected to cool off slightly before temperatures trend back up heading into the Fourth of July weekend, forecasters said.

“It is very hot and dry,” said Suzi Johnson, a Shasta-Trinity National Forest spokeswoman for the Salt Fire, which broke out Wednesday and quickly grew to more than 10 sq km, temporarily shutting down Interstate 5.

READ: Rolling blackouts for parts of US Northwest amid heatwave

California and the rest of the US West is mired in a historic drought tied to climate change, which also is contributing to worsening wildfire seasons and heatwaves.

The fire was a threat to homes around Shasta Lake north of the city of Redding, more than 322km north of San Francisco. The huge lake is popular with vacationers, but its water level is dramatically low because of the drought.

Evacuation orders were in place for some areas, but there was no immediate information on how many people were forced to flee.

A Trinity Hotshots US Forest Service firefighting crew hikes into the burn zone at the Lava Fire. (Photo: AP)

To the north, the Lava Fire burning partly on the flanks of Mount Shasta grew to nearly 80 sq km and was partially contained. Evacuation orders for communities near the city of Weed were still in effect.

The steep, rocky terrain challenged nearly 1,300 firefighters battling the blaze, which was ignited by lightning last week.

A wildfire that has put thousands of people under evacuation orders in Northern California grew substantially but firefighters had some success against the flames. (Photo: AP)

To the northeast, a fire that broke out Monday in the Klamath National Forest and forced evacuations has grown to about 15 square miles (38 square kilometers). The fire was expected to advance north toward Oregon, and its cause was being investigated.

Fire authorities throughout California stepped up campaigns urging people not to use fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, citing both the explosive dangers and the threat of wildfires in the withering conditions.

“The fuels are bone dry,” Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said at a news conference. “We are extremely concerned about the use of fireworks of all kinds.”

Source: AP/ad

Advertisement

Also worth reading

Advertisement