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Crews try to tame California wildfire as heat wave arrives

The blaze is driving through brushy ridgetops, including areas that last burned in 1968.

Posted: Aug 12, 2020 9:19 PM
Updated: Aug 13, 2020 12:59 PM

LOS ANGELES — Crews scrambled to protect homes from a huge wildfire that prompted evacuations north of Los Angeles and officials warned the blaze could flare up again Thursday as a blistering heat wave descended on California.

The fire exploded in size within hours after it broke out in dense forest on Wednesday afternoon, sending up a towering plume visible for hundreds of miles around.

Flames raced across ridges and steep slopes, including in some areas that had not burned since 1968, fire officials said. By Thursday morning, the blaze had consumed nearly 16.5 square miles (42 square kilometers) of timber and brush. There was no containment.

Light winds and scattered thundershowers early in the day helped firefighters tame the flames somewhat. But as the cloud cover cleared and temperatures spiked Thursday afternoon, officials prepared for a repeat of the ferocious fire activity seen a day earlier.

“This will be a major fire for several days,” said Chief Robert Garcia with the U.S. Forest Service.

About 100 rural homes were evacuated in the Lake Hughes area of the Angeles National Forest, some 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of downtown Los Angeles.

Preliminary damage assessments found that at least three structures burned, but authorities warned the toll would likely be higher. It wasn’t immediately clear if any residences were damaged, but a photograph for The Associated Press showed what may have been a house on fire.

Evacuation centers were designated for residents and animals, but because of COVID-19 concerns, people were told to stay in their cars in the parking lots.

The cause of the blaze, dubbed the Lake Fire, is under investigation. It’s one of several wildfires burning in the region.

The heat wave was expected to last through the weekend, bringing triple-digit temperatures and extreme fire danger to large portions of California.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 783313

Reported Deaths: 15018
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2598176330
Riverside566811153
San Bernardino52287908
Orange518731127
San Diego44293796
Kern31261350
Fresno27560355
Sacramento21171375
Alameda20494374
Santa Clara20252296
San Joaquin19793414
Stanislaus16289332
Contra Costa15734199
Tulare15599256
Ventura12236143
Imperial11558314
San Francisco1069697
San Mateo9522143
Monterey936066
Santa Barbara8846110
Merced8750134
Kings726877
Sonoma6998114
Marin6557112
Solano608555
Madera429658
Placer342841
San Luis Obispo336027
Yolo274054
Butte273835
Santa Cruz21898
Sutter164210
Napa160413
San Benito129011
Yuba11187
El Dorado10644
Mendocino83318
Lassen7310
Shasta66814
Glenn5503
Colusa5096
Nevada5066
Tehama4904
Humboldt4826
Lake45910
Calaveras31114
Amador28616
Tuolumne2214
Inyo18714
Mono1642
Siskiyou1610
Del Norte1361
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc230
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 88°
Oroville
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 89°
Paradise
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 88°
Chester
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 79°
Red Bluff
Clear
93° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 93°
Willows
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 88°
Most of the forecast will remain pleasant and seasonable with big changes possible by next weekend.
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