CASTAIC: California wildfires gnawed through rural areas north of Los Angeles and east of San Diego on Thursday, cutting through dry brush and prompting evacuations as the state sweltered under a heat wave that could last until Labor Day.
The highway fire near Castaic in northwest Los Angeles County raged through more than 8 square miles of hills containing scattered homes. Traffic was blocked on Interstate 5, a major north-south route through the fire zone. Containment was estimated at 12%.
The aircraft drew water from nearby Castaic Lake to spill onto the flames. No damage to buildings was immediately reported, but a mobile home park of 94 residences was evacuated.
A primary school was also evacuated. On Wednesday, temperatures in the region reached 107 degrees (42 degrees Celsius) and winds gusted to 17 mph (27 kph), forecasters said.
Temperatures across much of California were so high that Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency and the state’s power grid operator asked residents to voluntarily reduce their electricity usage.
Eight firefighters were treated for heat-related issues, including six who were sent to hospitals, but all were in good condition, Los Angeles County Fire Department Deputy Chief Thomas Ewald said.
More injuries were expected as crews battle extreme heat that is expected to stretch into next week, Ewald said at a news conference Wednesday evening.
“Wearing heavy firefighting equipment, carrying backpacks, dragging pipeswinging tools, people there are just getting beat up,” he said.
Another blaze burned at least four buildings, including a home, and prompted evacuations in the Dulzura area of ​​eastern San Diego County near the US-Mexico border. It quickly grew to more than 6 square miles and prompted evacuation orders for at least 400 homes, authorities said.
The blaze was 5% contained, but firefighters warned the weather would continue to be a challenge.
Two national highways were closed. The Mountain Empire Unified School District also closed.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the Tecate port of entry with Mexico closed three hours earlier Wednesday night due to the fire and will not reopen until conditions improve. would not improve to ensure “the safety of the traveling public”. Crossing Otay Mesa 24 hours a day.
No injuries were immediately reported, but there were “several close calls” as residents rushed to flee, the captain said. Thomas shoots with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“We received several 911 calls from people unable to evacuate” because their homes were surrounded by fire, Shoots told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Wildfires broke out this summer in the western states. California’s largest and deadliest fire so far this year broke out in July in Siskyou County. It killed four people and destroyed much of the small community of Klamath River.
Scientists said climate change has made the West hotter and drier over the past three decades and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

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