Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Hot, dry conditions stoke devastating California wildfires

Published:Wednesday | September 30, 2020 | 11:16 AM
An air tanker drops retardant while battling the Glass Fire in St. Helena, California on Sunday, September 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Flames devoured swaths of brush and trees in Northern California on Wednesday amid unseasonably hot and dry weather.

High winds that spread new fires this week in the Napa and Sonoma wine country and in a far northern area of the state were reduced to breezes, but vegetation remained ripe for burning in high temperatures amid very low humidity.

The National Weather Service said the weather conditions would last for several days due to high pressure centred over the state.

Heat advisories were in effect or pending along about three-quarters of the California coast and many areas had poor air quality due to smoke.

Numerous studies in recent years have linked bigger wildfires in America to global warming from the burning of coal, oil and gas, especially because climate change has made California much drier.

A drier California means plants are more flammable.

About 70,000 people were under evacuation orders in the wine region north of San Francisco where the Glass Fire has incinerated dozens of homes along with winery installations and other buildings.

The Napa County Sheriff’s Office posted photos and video of a hellish scene of fires raging on forested hillsides at midnight close to a highway in the western part of the county.

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