The wildfires have Los Angeles, California, under terrible threat and the weather is not helping, other outbreaks are expected to occur.
Emergency elements as well as several fire departments are struggling to contain three wildfires near Los Angeles on Saturday, but conditions are grim after meteorologists warned that the risk of new fires was high and temperatures were higher.
In Northern California, the National Weather Service has warned first responders to watch out for a rare fiery tornado, as the conditions in which fires have raged are conducive to one forming.
A huge wildfire that triggered evacuations north of Los Angeles ignited around noon, sending a cloud of smoke as it made its way into thick, dry brush in the Angeles National Forest.
Although it was burning in wooded land, evacuation orders remained in effect for the western Antelope Valley because erratic winds in the forecast could push the fire into homes, fire spokesman Jake Miller said.
Fire crews were able to stop the fire from moving toward the desert floor when it erupted Friday afternoon. In a dramatic moment, several firefighters ran to safety when a longhorn bull apparently escaping the fire charged at them.
The lake fire was only 12% contained as of Saturday morning and, after threatening more than 5,400 homes, had charred more than 59.5 square kilometers of shrubbery and trees. Firefighters said 21 buildings had been destroyed, including at least five houses.
Firefighters fought on rugged and rugged terrain amid scorching temperatures. The National Weather Service warned that temperatures could reach 111 degrees (44 degrees Celsius) in the Antelope Valley on Saturday, and winds of 15-20 mph (24-32 kph) were expected later in the afternoon.
“On top of that, we have a very unstable air mass over the lake of fire that will allow for a pyrocumulus (cloud) to develop later today, creating extreme fire behavior,” said meteorologist Matt Mehle.
Record heat and temperatures in California
Many areas of the state saw record heat over the weekend, with triple-digit temperatures and unhealthy air forecast for many parts of the state. There was also the potential for isolated thunderstorms to exacerbate the fire threat by creating dry lightning strikes and strong downdrafts, fire officials said.
California officials ordered evacuations as the Woodward Fire burned 700 acres in Point Reyes National Seashore, a national park on the coastline.
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North of Lake Tahoe, the Loyalton Fire has burned 31 square miles (80 square kilometers) east of Reno, Nevada. Weather service officials said the blaze exhibited extreme behavior, like gusts of wind and smoke similar to a deadly blaze in Northern California that destroyed more than 1,000 homes and killed 8 people. That fire was only 5 percent contained Saturday night.
There was also no containment of a fire that blackened the hills above the Los Angeles suburb of Azusa. It churned through 2.3 square miles (5.96 square kilometers) of brush on Thursday and was moving away from houses. Evacuation orders issued to residents were lifted early Friday.
Azusa police said they were looking for a homeless man suspected of starting the fire. He was identified as Osmin Palencia, 36, and it was last known that he lived in a camp on a river bed near the place where the fire started.
Police said Palencia was believed to be violent and urged people to be careful if they saw him.
Another fire came dangerously close to a neighborhood in the city of Corona, east of Los Angeles, before crews got hold of it. And a fire in Northern California in the community of Sloughhouse, near Sacramento, burned about 500 acres (202 hectares) before firefighters stopped its forward spread.