California Fires Break Out During Triple-Digit Heat

Corey Blake

Southern California is struggling with triple-digit temperatures during what is expected to be a record-breaking heatwave lasting until Tuesday, while two major fires broke out across the state.

Approximately 200 homes were evacuated over the weekend due to a wildfire in Silverado Canyon near the Cleveland National Forest of the Santa Ana Mountains. The fire broke out Friday behind a house in the town of Silverado, about 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and spread to 1,500 acres. More than 1,000 firefighters were dispatched. Six had to deal with minor injuries, mostly due to excessive heat. CBS LA reported that by mid-day Sunday, the Silverado Fire was 20 percent contained. No structures have been damaged, although some homes are without power due to charred utility poles, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile, in Northern California, a major fire resulted in a mandatory evacuation of 160 homes, with an additional 406 falling under voluntary evacuation. The wildfire broke out in El Dorado County off King of the Mountain Road and quickly spread to 2,000 acres, according to News 10 ABC. As of Sunday evening, the fire is zero percent contained. Local schools have already been closed for Monday. Smoke from the King Fire has drifted as far as Reno, Nevada. As reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal, authorities in the Reno-Tahoe area are asking concerned residents not to call 911 about the smoke, which is expected to last until Monday.

Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued an updated alert for excessive heat and high fire risk in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties of Southern California. The alert is in place until Tuesday night, with record temperatures in the triple-digits possible every day. Southern California residents were advised to drink plenty of water, stay indoors, and use air conditioning when possible.

The National Weather Service tweeted out the Southern California heat index values for Sunday. Temperatures reached as high as 114 degrees Farenheit for the Santa Fe Dam in San Gabriel Valley.

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) September 15, 2014

Cooling centers are open throughout Southern California for those struggling with the heat, KTLA reports. Officials warned that even a few hours of physical activity could be harmful, possibly resulting in severe dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and heat cramps. It was also recommended that children, the elderly, and pets were not to be left inside non-air conditioned homes or vehicles.

"Even if the windows are 'cracked' or open... temperatures inside can quickly rise to life-threatening levels," Dr. Jeffery Gunzenhauser, the Interim Health Officer for L.A. County, warned in the release.

With the heatwave expected to last until Tuesday and the state in the midst of a record drought, risk is high for more fires in Southern California.

[Image source: NBC]