California Fires

Fire officials blame a malfunctioning diesel vehicle for starting a wildfire east of Los Angeles that has consumed more than 42 square miles of brush and timber since Friday evening. As of Monday night, the Apple Fire was only 7 percent contained. Officials issued evacuation orders and advisories for about 2,500 homes in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. In Northern California, a wildfire that started on Sunday spread quickly, burning several homes in Colusa County. A blaze along the central coast in San Luis Obispo County consumed more than 2 square miles of brush before firefighters brought it mostly under control on Monday.

How is the fire response going? The Apple Fire is the first large wildfire in Southern California since the coronavirus pandemic began. John Medina, a Red Cross spokesman, said volunteers helping with evacuations had to adjust to social distancing. Hot weather also hampered firefighting efforts in both Northern and Southern California, with temperatures reaching the upper 90s in Sacramento and breaking 100 degrees in Palm Springs.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Julie Borg’s report in Beginnings about the relationship between climate change and wildfires.

Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2020, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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