Massive fires rage in California

Agence France-Presse
Massive fires rage in California
At least one person has died in the blazes that have forced thousands of people to flee their homes

LOS ANGELES, USA – Thousands of firefighters continued to battle huge wildfires in California on Monday, August 1, where a prolonged drought has left vegetation tinder-dry.

At least one person has died in the blazes that have forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

Since July 22, California has been threatened by blazes like the massive Soberanes fire which has charred 40,618 acres (16,437 hectares) north of Big Sur, one of the region’s most popular tourist draws with its sharp cliffs rising above the Pacific Ocean.

Authorities have sent almost 5,300 people to fight the wildfire, which so far has been just 18 percent contained, according to data from the state CalFire agency.

The fire has destroyed 57 homes, and is threatening another 2,000 structures which has prompted authorities to evacuate thousands of residents.

The driver of a bulldozer died last week while taking part in the fire battle.

Another wildfire, the Goose fire, has been burning since Saturday, July 30, in Fresno county. It now has blackened 1,798 acres and is just five percent contained.

CalFire said high temperatures were making it rough going for the some 1,300 firefighters battling that blaze.

But it’s been good news for the Sand fire, in Santa Clarita just north of Los Angeles.

It scorched more than 41,000 acres square miles and forced more than 20,000 residents to flee before being brought under control.

The outlook for fires in the most populous US state is not promising for now.

The National Interagency Fire Center said Monday that “California will continue to see elevated potential due to long-term dryness. This will occasionally be amplified through the fall and early winter as offshore flow events become more common.”

Dry conditions have killed 65 million trees which increases the fire risk significantly, it added.

Other western states facing fire or fire risks include Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming. –

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