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Lightning Sparks New Wildfires Across California

Over 4.5K buildings are threatened by wildfire
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 16, 2020 3:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – A rare summer thunderstorm brought lightning that sparked several small blazes in Northern California on Sunday and stoked a huge forest fire that has forced hundreds of people from their homes north of Los Angeles, the AP reports. More than 4,500 buildings remained threatened by the wildfire, which was burning toward thick, dry brush in the Angeles National Forest. Firefighters already battling the blaze in steep, rugged terrain in scorching heat faced more hurdles Saturday when hundreds of lightning strikes and winds up to 15 mph pushed the flames uphill. "We set up a containment line at the top of the hills so the fire doesn't spill over to the other side and cause it to spread, but it was obviously difficult given the erratic wind and some other conditions," said fire spokesman Jake Miller.

The Lake Fire was just 12% contained as of Sunday morning and has burned nearly 28 square miles of brush and trees. Fire officials said 33 buildings had been destroyed, including at least a dozen homes. Temperatures were expected to hit the mid 90s to 100s, Miller said, a slight drop from Saturday when the mercury hit 111 degrees on Saturday at the firefighters' base camp. Thunderstorm and gusty wind could return in the late afternoon. Thunderstorm and excessive heat were also a concern for firefighters battling a blaze that blackened almost 4 square miles in the foothills above the Los Angeles suburb of Azusa. The fire, believed to be started Thursday by a homeless man, is only 3% contained. (California also saw a "firenado.")


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