Helicopters rescued more people from wildfires Tuesday as flames chewed through bone-dry California after a scorching Labor Day weekend that saw a dramatic airlift of more than 200 people and ended with the state's largest utility turning off power to 172,000 customers to try to prevent more fires.
Three early morning helicopter flights pulled another 35 people from the Sierra National Forest, the California National Guard said. California has already set a record with 2 million acres (809,000 hectares) burned this year, and the worst part of the wildfire season is just beginning. The previous record was set just two years ago and included the deadliest wildfire in state history, which swept through the community of Paradise and killed 85 people. More than 14,000 firefighters are battling more than two dozen fires around the state. Two of the three largest blazes in state history are burning in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In Southern California, fires were burning in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. The U.S. Forest Service on Monday decided to close all eight national forests in the region and to shutter campgrounds statewide.One of the Southern California fires closed mountain roads in Angeles National Forest and forced the evacuation of the historic Mount Wilson Observatory. Late Monday night, the Los Angeles County Fire Department told residents of Duarte, Bradbury and Monrovia near the forest to get ready for a possible evacuation. Cal Fire said the so-called El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County started Saturday morning when a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device was used by a couple to reveal their baby's gender.
Today on AirTalk, we’ll get an update on the fires in Southern and Central California.
With files from the Associated Press
Eric Boldt, warning coordination meteorologist with National Weather Service office in Oxnard; he tweets @wxreport
Andrew Mitchell, public information officer for the Angeles National Forest
Lucy Jones, seismologist and founder and chief scientist at the Lucy Jones Center for Science & Society, a natural disaster risk reduction research organization; she is author of the book, “The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them" (Doubleday, 2018); she tweets @DrLucyJones