California fires spread in July 4 weekend heat wave

In record temperatures on Friday, California firefighters battled several fires; meanwhile, a major fire farther north was contained as a new one broke out close to Yosemite National Park.

As the region’s most recent heat wave approaches its apex, temperatures as high as 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius) were reported in the western US state on Friday.

“Dangerous heat is likely to become more widespread in the West today and Saturday… Temperatures will be 15-30 degrees above average for much of the West Coast today,” warned the National Weather Service.

“Widespread temperature records are expected to be tied or broken,” the NWS said.

Over the July 4 weekend, millions of Americans celebrate the anniversary of their country’s independence with fireworks displays, which, in hot, dry weather, have the potential to start fires. This is when the extreme heat occurs.

Much of the historic Gold Rush town of Mariposa had to be evacuated late Thursday due to a swiftly spreading fire that broke out just outside Yosemite National Park.

According to Cal Fire, by Friday afternoon, the fire had burned around 1,000 acres (405 hectares) and was 15% contained.

“Winds have calmed which has helped firefighters make progress overnight,” it said.

Some residents had been allowed to return to their homes. The fire’s cause was not yet known.

There was also progress in northern California, where earlier this week thousands of people were ordered to evacuate from the Thompson Fire near Oroville.

Firefighters reported success in limiting the fire, and some evacuation orders were withdrawn, despite some of the hottest temperatures recorded in the area.

Forecasters and fire authorities cautioned that the threat is still present because high temperatures are predicted to continue spreading and to climax on Saturday.

“The duration of this heat is also concerning as scorching above average temperatures are forecast to linger into next week,” warned the NWS.

Climate experts claim that, at least in part due to human-caused global warming, the western United States is experiencing a decades-long aridification as weather patterns shift.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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