The state of California is ablaze as deadly wildfires sweep across dried ground and brush, devastating buildings and triggering emergency evacuations. Sweltering heat is continuing to bake the state, creating ideal conditions for the flames to spread.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), as of Sunday morning, nearly 15,000 firefighters were battling 23 fires across the state.
Of these, three major fires, including the Creek Fire, were burning in Fresno, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.
The agency said in a statement it had increased staffing in preparation for “critical fire weather.”
The flames have been exacerbated by the dangerous heatwave, which has baked swathes of the western United States through the weekend.
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Many locations in California registered record-high temperatures on Saturday, with deadly consequences for the fires.
A record 49.4C (121F) was recorded on Sunday in Los Angeles County, beating the previous record of 48.3C (119F), set in July 2006.
The National Weather Service warned “sweltering” heat would continue creating ideal conditions for wildfires.
CalFire maps show the 23 fires burning across California, with firefighters working to contain the blazes.
California Fires in Numbers
In total this wildfire season, there have been 7,563 confirmed wildfires, with 3,894 structures damaged or destroyed.
Fires have raged across more than two million acres, with 2,178,015 acres of land burnt since the season began, according to CalFire.
Confirmed fatalities are at eight, with hundreds of the blazes set alight by lightning strikes in an August lightning siege.
The lightning strikes occurred on August 17, and in the days since more than one million acres have burned.
Since August 17, there have been nearly 14,000 lightning strikes, creating more than 900 new wildfires.
As of Sunday morning, there are more than 14,100 firefighters battling 23 major fires and lightning complexes in California.
Valley Fire in San Diego has raged across 17,345 acres and is only one percent contained at the time of writing.
Similarly, El Dorado Fire is only seven percent contained and Coyote Fire 20 percent.
However, some fires are being contained by the fire crews – with several more than 80 percent under control.
The Sheep Fire in Plumas County is currently 90 percent contained, while the Apple Fire and Lake Fire are both 95 percent contained.
Potters Fire in Butte is 98 percent contained, while the SCU Lightning Complex fire and LNU Lightning Complex fire are 94 and 91 percent contained respectively.