Weather

The Latest: California governor declares disaster over fire

Posted September 3

A crew member with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) battles a brushfire on the hillside in Burbank, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. Several hundred firefighters worked to contain a blaze that chewed through brush-covered mountains, prompting evacuation orders for more than 600 homes in Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

— The Latest on heat and wildfires in the Western United States (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles County after a wildfire burned homes and prompted mandatory evacuations amid a searing heat wave.

Brown's emergency declaration Sunday comes after hundreds of residents fled their homes as flames came near foothill neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale. Three residences have burned.

The declaration, which frees up resources to battle the flames, came the same day the National Weather Service says the temperature at Los Angeles International Airport reached 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius), breaking an all-time record.

The weather service says by around midday Sunday the mercury topped the previous mark of 92 (33 Celsius), set in 1982.

After setting heat records Friday and Saturday, temperatures in San Francisco are sliding slightly.

___

1:30 p.m.

Firefighters battling a wildfire near Yosemite National Park are working to safeguard a 2,700-year-old grove of giant sequoia and a pair of historic cabins inside it.

Fire spokeswoman Anne Grandy said Sunday that the 9-square-mile (23-square-kilometer) wildfire has charred the ground in Nelder Grove, but the more than 100 giant sequoia there remain untouched.

Giant sequoias are some of the world's oldest and largest inhabitants. Nelder Grove includes giant sequoia reaching more than 20 stories high, and measuring as much as 100 feet around.

Grandy says firefighters also have wrapped two 19th-century cabins and their outhouse in shiny, fire-resistant material to protect them from the flames.

The fire spokeswoman says the giant sequoia grove has survived thousands of fires. She says saving the giant trees and the cabins from this one is a priority

___

11:30 a.m.

Firefighters hope to take advantage of calm winds as they struggle to surround a blaze that has destroyed three homes and is threatening foothill neighborhoods in Los Angeles amid a blistering heat wave.

Fire Capt. Ralph Terrazas says crews are getting a break Sunday from higher humidity and temperatures that have inched down into the 90s.

Meanwhile officials issued an alert for poor air quality as smoke choked the area and ash rained down across the LA basin.

About 80 miles to the east, crews are protecting homes from a fast-moving wildfire that forced evacuations in Riverside County.

And in Montana, Glacier National Park officials have ordered the evacuation of all residents, campers and tourists from one of the most popular areas of the park because of an encroaching wildfire.

___

8:05 a.m.

Residents of 30 homes near Los Angeles have been ordered to leave as crews beat back a flare-up during a destructive wildfire — one of several large blazes around the U.S. West during a blistering holiday weekend heat wave.

Some evacuations in Burbank had been lifted late Saturday, but hours later officials said flames were once again moving toward homes. Hundreds in Burbank, Glendale and Los Angeles remain under evacuation orders, three houses have been destroyed and a major freeway is shut down.

Firefighters with air support hope to get a break Sunday from calm winds.

Wildfires also entered a 2,700-year-old grove of giant sequoia trees near Yosemite National Park and have driven people from their homes in Washington state, Oregon, Montana and other areas struggling under scorching heat.

___

1:15 a.m.

Stifling temperatures and the smoky pall of wildfires marked an unofficial end to summer across the U.S. West.

In Los Angeles, a wildfire just north of downtown had grown to the largest in city history.

To the north, wildfires had entered a 2,700-year-old grove of giant sequoia trees near Yosemite National Park and have driven people from their homes in Washington state, Oregon, Montana and other areas struggling with a weeklong heat wave that's gripped the region.

San Francisco, meanwhile, set a heat record Saturday of 101 — hotter than Phoenix.

It was a rare heat wave at a time of year that San Francisco residents usually call "Fogust" for its cloudy chill.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all