The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) said in a report that more than 2,000 firefighters, supported by 17 helicopters, were deployed against the Oak Fire, which hit near Yosemite National Park on Friday.
But two days after it began, the fire has already consumed more than 15,600 acres (6,313 ha) and is zero percent contained, the report said, adding that the heat combined with low humidity “disrupted Sunday’s efforts”. “Will do it.
In pictures: California wildfires
Trees burn along the roadside during a California wildfire. (Photo Credits: Reuters)
“Extreme drought conditions have made fuel moisture levels critical,” Cal Fire reported.
Described by officials as “explosive”, the fire has left ashes, burnt vehicles and the twisted remains of properties, as emergency personnel worked to evacuate residents and protect structures in its path.
It has already destroyed 10 properties and damaged five others, while thousands are at risk.
Hector Vasquez, a Cal Fire official, said more than 6,000 people had been evacuated.
“When we left it was scary because the ashes were pouring on us, but we had such a view of this billowing. It looked like it was over our house and coming our way really quickly, “A woman had to be evicted. Linda Reynolds-Brown told local news station KCRA.
“We started collecting our stuff, and that’s when I went back up the hill and looked and I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ It was coming fast,” her husband, Aubrey Brown, told the station.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday declared a state of emergency in Mariposa County, citing “a situation of extreme danger to the safety of persons and property.”
In recent years, huge and fast-paced wildfires have ravaged California and other parts of the western United States, driven by years of drought and warm climates.
Evidence of global warming can be seen elsewhere in the country, as 85 million Americans in more than a dozen states were under weekend heat advisories.
The crisis prompted former Vice President Al Gore, a tireless climate advocate, to issue a stern warning on Sunday about “inaction” by US lawmakers.
Asked whether he believed US President Joe Biden should declare a climate emergency that would give him additional policy powers, Gore was blunt.
“Mother Nature has already declared this a global emergency,” he told the ABC News talk show “This Week.”
And “it’s due to be very, very bad, and early,” he said separately on NBC.
But he also suggested that recent crises, including deadly heat waves in Europe, could serve as a wake-up call to members of the US Congress, who have so far refused to embrace efforts to tackle climate change. Is.
“I think these extreme events that keep getting worse and more serious are really starting to change minds,” he said.
The Central and Northeast US regions have suffered the brunt of the severe heatwave, which is expected to ease on Monday.
“Severe heat will continue into the mid-Atlantic and northeast tonight before falling into an upper trough over Canada,” the National Weather Service said on Sunday afternoon.
But not all areas are expected to cool: Temperatures of 100 or more degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) are forecast for parts of eastern Kansas and Oklahoma to southern Missouri and northern Arkansas in the coming days.
The weather service said the generally cool Pacific Northwest also won’t be able to escape the far-reaching heat, with high temperatures “projected to rise steadily over the next few days, with the potential to break records.”
Cities have been forced to open cooling stations and increase access to the homeless and at-risk communities without access to air conditioning.
Recent months have seen extreme heat waves in various regions of the world, such as Western Europe in July and India in March to April, events that scientists say are a surefire sign of a warming climate.