Record temperatures help California wildfires spread as areas are evacuated
Firefighters battle through Oroville, California
Record-breaking temperatures have fuelled the spread of California wildfires as the mercury hit a sweltering 98F (36.6C) in Los Angeles.
It was the hottest in LA since the previous record of 95F (35C) was set 131 years ago.
Two wildfires have spread rapidly and threatened hundreds of homes, forcing evacuations at a lakeside camping ground and a summer camp where children and staff were temporarily trapped.
The blaze that broke out early on Saturday afternoon in California’s Santa Barbara County spread to both sides of Highway 154 and was “completely out of control”, county fire Captain Dave Zaniboni said.
A car is engulfed in flames in Oroville
Temperatures of up to 110F (43C) were predicted by forecasters for some inland areas and there were warnings that the elderly, children and outdoor workers could be at risk.
The heat and dry gusts helped fan more wildfires in Santa Barbara that spread over 30 square miles during an eight-hour period and forced the evacuation of about 200 homes in a rural area east of Santa Maria.
After five years of severe drought, California had record rainfall and snowfall in parts of the state this year which delayed the start of fire season in some areas.
However, this has also led to increased vegetation growth that could fuel future blazes.
In Northern California, a wildfire in Butte County spread through grassy foothills south of Oroville and destroyed 10 structures, including homes, with several people suffering minor injuries.
Motorists drive past the flames
Evacuation orders were lifted in Colorado and Montana towns threatened by wildfires, as air and ground crews battled a growing grass fire in northwestern Colorado.
In Colorado, residents of nearly 500 homes outside the ski town of Breckenridge were allowed to return home on Friday night.
An evacuation order was lifted in Landusky, Montana, in the Little Rocky Mountains south of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
A wildfire in southern Wyoming spread over three miles and an unknown number of cabins remained under evacuation orders.
Courtesy of Sky News