California wildfire puts 1,300 homes at risk as Santa Ana winds whip flames

Approximately 4,000 residents were evacuated from the southeast of Los Angeles due to the uncontained nature of the fire.

Emergency officials in Southern California report that a wildfire that broke out overnight spread to 2,200 acres.

Monday about 1:30 p.m., the Highland Fire broke out in Aguanga, a small community in the rural, hilly region of Riverside County, southeast of Los Angeles.

Cal Fire said that about 4,000 people and 1,300 residences were under evacuation. Even with road closures and evacuation orders were in place.

A high school in Temecula, twenty miles distant, opened as an evacuation center.

Santa Ana winds gusting between 20 and 25 mph were whipping the flames. The windy, arid gusts that originate from Southern California’s desert are most severe between October and January. The low humidity is making the fire conditions worse.

A red flag warning of high fire danger was issued by the National Weather Service for portions of Riverside and Los Angeles counties through Tuesday afternoon.

A few buildings in the vicinity had already been completely burned by the fire, although it was unknown if any residences were among them. There were no reported injuries.

On Tuesday, officials were hoping that the winds would drop enough to allow them to “box in” the wildfire with the help of 300 firefighters, three air tankers, three helicopters, and bulldozers.

In 2023, the Highland Fire is one of the few sizable and active fires in California, where the fire season has not reached the horrific levels of previous years.

According to Cal Fire, more than 315,000 acres have burnt in California this year, a considerable decrease from the 1.1 million acres five-year average.

This year’s unprecedented rainfall from at least thirty air rivers, which affected the state and caused disastrous flooding, is partially to blame.

In the past, California’s fire season lasted from May to October. However, due to the effects of the climate crisis, wildfires are now possible throughout the year.

Drastic weather and strong heat are the main causes of larger, more intense flames. The climate issue, which is mostly the result of carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, is what is causing these conditions.

Outside of California, 2023 has seen record-breaking wildfire activity in the Northern Hemisphere.

Large portions of the ancient town of Lahaina on Maui were destroyed this summer, setting off the deadliest wildfire in US history in more than a century in Hawaii.

There have been hundreds of fires blazing for months on end from coast to coast during Canada’s record-breaking wildfire season. Over six times as much has burnt as the 10-year average.

According to Climate Central, the typical US citizen inhaled more toxic wildfire smoke in 2023 than in any other year since 2006.

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