Rare summer thunderstorms and lightning threaten to start new wildfires across California – National


A rare summer thunderstorm caused lightning to set off several small flames across northern California on Sunday and stoked a massive wildfire that forced hundreds of people to leave their homes north of Los Angeles.More than 4,500 buildings remained at risk from the wildfire, which burned into thick, dry brush in the Angeles National Forest. Firefighters already battling the blaze on steep, rugged terrain in scorching heat faced further obstacles on Saturday when hundreds of lightning strikes and winds of up to 15 mph pushed the flames towards the high.

“We set up a containment line at the top of the hills so that the fire wouldn’t spread to the other side and cause it to spread, but it was obviously difficult given the erratic wind and some other conditions,” said firefighter spokesman Jake Meunier.

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The lake fire was only 12% contained on Sunday morning and burned nearly 72 square kilometers of brush and trees. Fire officials said 33 buildings were destroyed, including at least a dozen homes.

Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-90s to 100, Miller said, a slight drop from Saturday when the mercury hit 44C on Saturday at the firefighter’s base camp. Thunderstorms and gusts of wind could return in the late afternoon.

Thunderstorms and excessive heat were also a concern for firefighters battling a blaze that blackened nearly 10 square kilometers in the foothills above the Azusa suburb of Los Angeles. The fire, which would have been started Thursday by a homeless man, is only contained 3%.

Many parts of the state saw triple-digit temperatures throughout the weekend and the combination of prolonged heat and smoke from wildfires sent ozone pollution to levels not seen since. a decade in some areas. Air quality can reach unhealthy to very unhealthy levels in several parts of southern California on Sunday and Monday afternoon, the South Coast Air Quality Management District said.

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In northern California, a thunderstorm moving rapidly from the Pacific Ocean to land caused thunder and more than 4,000 lightning strikes, some of which started small fires and cut power in the Bay Area. San Francisco.

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Wind gusts reached 75 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

“This is probably the most widespread and violent summer thunderstorm event in Bay Area memory, and it’s also one of the hottest nights in years,” Daniel Swain tweeted , a climatologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Disturbing weather conditions have triggered an unusual warning by the weather service of a tornado caused by fire during an uncontrollable forest fire that broke out on Saturday afternoon north of Lake Tahoe.

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A huge cloud of fire known as pyrocumulonimbus formed over the fire, which started east of the town of Loyalton. When strong winds made contact with the fire and whipped it through the air, a tornado-shaped spiral of flame formed.

The blaze has burned at least 80 square kilometers and triggered evacuation orders for sparsely populated parts of Plumas, Lassen and Sierra County, Tahoe National Forest spokesman Joe Flannery said.

Firefighters assisted by water-width helicopters and tankers faced “extreme fire behavior,” he said, and worked through the night to put out localized fires and protect threatened structures. .

At one point, the rapid fire blasted a highway and came dangerously close to a fire engine. A Truckee fire crew tweeted video of firefighters dragging hoses as they ran past a moving truck that dodged the flames.

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© 2020 The Canadian Press


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