Fires burn record two million acres in California – as LA hits new temperature record


A record of more than two million acres have burned in California so far in 2020 – with authorities warning the worse could still be to come.

More than 14,000 firefighters are battling around 24 major fires in the state, according to California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s (Cal Fire).

Those active fires have burned 1.7 million of the 2.2 million acres scorched so far this year.

At least eight people have died and more than 3,800 structures have been destroyed or damaged.

There have been around 900 fires in the state since 15 August.

Dry, hot winds are expected over the coming days, raising the danger to critical levels, with evacuation orders widened for rural communities in the Sierra National Forest.

Firefighters battle part of the Valley Fire in Jamul, California

People airlifted to safety in California fire

State governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency and residents are being warned to limit their electricity use to avoid possible outages.

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Searing temperatures are making the problem worse.

Los Angeles County recorded its highest-ever temperature on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service, when 49.4C (121F) was recorded in the Woodland Hills neighbourhood of the San Fernando Valley.

A Californian fire captain documented his crew's battle against the 5,350-square acre Valley Fire east of San Diego on September 6

A Californian fire captain documented his crew’s battle against the 5,350-square acre blaze east of San Diego on September 6

Central Los Angeles also reached 44C (111F).

Earlier, Cal Fire revealed the cause of one of the latest fires, which has been burning since Saturday, was “a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used during a baby’s gender reveal party”.

It led to more than 200 people being airlifted out from the area, after becoming trapped at a nearby camping spot in San Bernardino, east of Los Angeles.

The previous wildfires record was the 1.96 million acres burned in 2018 when villages and towns were ravaged by the blazes.

The Cal Fire records began in 1987.

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