California battles wildfire as blazing warmth hits western US | Local weather Information
Firefighters battled an emerging area fire in scorching temperatures in northern California when another heatwave hit the western United States this weekend, triggering an excessive heat warning for inland and desert areas.
California’s Death Valley National Park, about 177 km (110 miles) west of Las Vegas in neighboring Nevada, registered a high of 54 degrees Celsius (130 Fahrenheit) on Friday and should hit the same temperature on Saturday.
If verified, the temperature would be the hottest reading there since July 1913, when the same desert area at Furnace Creek reached 57 ° C (134 ° F), which is believed to be the highest reliably measured temperature on earth.
The Beckwourth Complex – two lightning-caused fires that burned 45 miles (72 km) north of Lake Tahoe – showed no signs of slowing its onslaught northeast of the Sierra Nevada forest region after it doubled between Friday and Saturday.
Local newspaper The Mercury News reported that around 1,300 workers were on duty on Saturday to prevent the flames from reaching populated areas near the fire while some evacuations were ordered.
Smoke envelops trees as the Sugar Fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex Fire, burns in Doyle, California on Friday [Noah Berger/AP Photo]The National Weather Service’s (NWS) Weather Prediction Center said Friday morning on Twitter that “record breaking heat” is expected to affect “much of the West and Southwest” over the weekend.
“Over 31 million people are currently subject to excessive heat warnings or heat warnings. Triple-digit highs could jeopardize Las Vegas’ all-time high temperature record of 117 ° F, ”the center said.
There have been several major fires in the northern mountain areas of California that have destroyed more than a dozen homes.
Although there are no confirmed reports of building damage, the fire resulted in evacuation orders or warnings for approximately 2,800 people, as well as the closure of nearly 518 square kilometers (200 square miles) of the Plumas National Forest.
The flames come just weeks after record temperatures hit the U.S. northwest and Canada’s west coast late last month, prompting authorities in both countries to open refrigeration centers and urge residents to stay cool indoors.
Record heat will hit large parts of the west and southwest this weekend. Over 31 million people are currently subject to an Excessive Heat Warning or Heat Admission. Triple-digit highs could jeopardize Las Vegas’ all-time high temperature record of 117 ° F. pic.twitter.com/vP4NXEeKGh
– NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) July 9, 2021
The heat wave has caused hundreds of deaths in the province of British Columbia alone, officials said.
Experts have said that climate change is fueling more extreme weather events like forest fires and heat waves – and some have urged US President Joe Biden to pursue an ambitious, long-term strategy to reduce the risk of devastating forest fires.
The potential record weekend temperatures on the US West Coast come after the hottest June in 127 years of record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA).
Eight states had their hottest June on record this year, while another six had their second warmest, NOAA said.
Back in California on Friday, hot rising air formed a gigantic, smoky pyrocumulus cloud that reached thousands of feet and created its own lightning bolt, fire intelligence officer Lisa Cox said.
Point fires caused by embers jumped up to 1.6 kilometers from the northeast flank – too far for the fire department to fight safely – and winds drove the fire into shafts and canyons full of dry fuel where “it can actually pick up speed,” said Coxx.
U.S. Forest Service firefighters monitor the sugar fire that burns in Plumas National Forest, California on July 9th [Noah Berger/AP Photo]Firefighters typically use cooler, wetter nights to fight a fire, Cox said, but the heat and low humidity never let up.
The air was so dry that some of the water dropped by planes evaporated before it hit the ground, she added. “We expect more of this the day after tomorrow and the day after and the day after tomorrow,” said Cox.
The NWS’s Weather Prediction Center also said Saturday that even if temperatures don’t break records, “the widespread, oppressive, and prolonged heat remains a threat”.