Sacramento, Sep 9 – Uncontrolled wildfires roared unchecked through California on Wednesday, while gusty winds could drive flames into extremity, authorities warned.
Diablo winds in the north and Santa Ana winds in the south were forecast into Wednesday at a time when existing wildfires have already grown explosively, CTV News reported.
On Tuesday, 14 firefighters were forced to deploy emergency shelters as flames overtook them and destroyed the Nacimiento fire station in the Los Padres National Forest on the state’s central coast, the US Forest Service said.
They suffered from burns and smoke inhalation, and three were flown to a hospital in Fresno, where one was in critical condition.
In a statement, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said the SCU Lightning Complex fires that have burned 396,624 acres across five Northern California counties, were 93 per cent contained by Monday morning, Xinhua reported.
Firefighters reached 76 per cent containment on the CZU Lightning Complex and the LNU Lightning Complex fires that have burned 375,209 acres were at least 91 per cent contained as of Monday morning, according to the Cal Fire updates.
Cal Fire said 14,800 firefighters were battling 23 major fires in the state presently
California has seen 900 wildfires since August 15, many of them started by an intense series of lightning strikes.
There have been eight deaths and more than 3,300 structures destroyed, according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday.
The National Weather Service (NWS) also issued a wind advisory for the mountains outside of Northern California’s Santa Rosa, Calistoga and San Rafael from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Tuesday.
The winds may be high enough to down tree limbs and power lines, and isolated power outages are possible, according to the NWS.
The cities in North Bay should expect fire-prevention shut-offs as the outages may affect about 17,000 people in Napa County till Wednesday, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company said.
Meanwhile, a fast growing wildfire in the Angeles National Forest, 30 km east of Los Angeles city, on Monday prompted the local authority to issue an evacuation order and air quality warning.
The blaze, dubbed Bobcat Fire, was first reported at around 12.20 p.m. on Sunday and grew to 4,800 acres in 24 hours with 0 per cent containment, according to InciWeb, an interstate incident information system.
Due to the fire, an evacuation order was issued on Monday morning for the Mount Wilson Observatory, an astronomical observatory in Los Angeles County.
The fire also threatens to destroy Mount Wilson’s seismic station, which is operated by the California Institute of Technology and has recorded every important earthquake in the state for the past century, according to seismologist Lucy Jones.
“The building may be old but the instrumentation inside is state of the art,” she tweeted on Monday.
With the fire spreading smoke and ash over the region, the South Coast Air Quality Management District warned of unhealthy air quality in the San Gabriel Mountains, eastern San Gabriel Valley and Pomona-Walnut Valley, where one of the biggest Chinese-American communities is located.
Los Angeles County has asked the residents to avoid unnecessary outdoor exposure and limit any physical exertions outside or inside.