Heat Wave Hits California, Firefighters Make Progress Against Wildfires

On Sunday, as a heat wave set records across the state and brought citizens rushing for relief, firefighters in Riverside County made headway combating four wildfires. On Sunday night, authorities reported that the Rabbit fire, the largest of the blazes, was 25% contained after having burned 7,600 acres in the Lakeview region south of Moreno Valley.

Overnight, firefighters made “great progress” against the flames, which had endangered more than 150 structures due to the difficult terrain. According to Cordova, a woman sustained significant burns and was flown to a burn center via helicopter. He stated that she was rescued close to the origin of the fire on Gilman Springs Road.

Cordova stated that because of the abundance of grasses caused by the winter rains, “any little spark could cause the devastation of a wildfire.” The cause of the Rabbit fire, which started on Friday, and other fires in Riverside County is now unknown. “Residents need to be more cautious” when doing outdoor activities like landscaping or recreation, he warned, because “any little spark, and a fire will take off.”

Other fires burning in the vicinity of Moreno Valley were also being fought and were making progress. By Sunday night, authorities reported they had contained 80% of the Reche fire, which had burnt 437 acres in an unincorporated area north of town. It was unclear from the video footage whether or not any other buildings had been harmed in the blaze.

The 105-acre Highland fire that had been raging in the Beaumont-Banning area was confined to within 95% of its original size. The order to evacuate the region has been removed. And only half of the 338-acre Gavilan fire had been suppressed.

On Sunday, the San Fernando Valley and the Antelope Valley both surpassed triple digits in temperature. According to the National Weather Service, the temperature in Topanga peaked at 98 degrees at noon, while in Lancaster it hit a high of 109.

Heat Wave Hits California, Firefighters Make Progress Against Wildfires (1)

City officials in Los Angeles have classified four recreation centers as “cooling centers” open to the public until 9 p.m. On Sunday, you can visit the recreation centers in Highland Park, Canoga Park, Panorama City, and South L.A.’s Fred Roberts neighborhood.

It was a refreshing 72 degrees inside the Highland Park Recreation Center before the power went out at 12:15. The leisure facility and the Arroyo Seco Regional Public Library, one of several libraries that were functioning as cooling centers, lost power when a power line fell a block away.

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With the center’s indoor basketball court now in the dark, Benjamin Newman exclaimed, “So much for our cooling center!” He and his son, Brayden Hutchens, age 4, had been playing there before the power went out.

Newman, who lives in a one-bedroom apartment with a single window air conditioner, said that city officials had not created enough cooling centers to meet the needs of the populace, especially the elderly.

Newman, who found out that his neighborhood has such a resource only when a television news crew approached him and his son on the nearby playground earlier in the day to ask them about it, said that the city also needed to do more to market them.

At 12:45 p.m., the temperature in Panorama City had already risen above 90 degrees, but according to David Anguiano, recreation coordinator for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, no one had yet visited the cooling center at the Sepulveda Recreation Center.

To provide relief from the heat, large tables were set up indoors on a basketball court. More than 40 guests could sit comfortably. There wasn’t a single thing there. Recreation assistant Tamar Kasparian stood by two huge coolers stocked with water bottles in case anyone needed them. Kasparian claimed that the air conditioner was whirring so loudly that she had to sneak out into the heat for a moment.

It was so cold in here that I had to take a break,” she added. A baseball game between men from a local leisure league continued despite the scorching temperatures. Jose Vazquez, 17, sat behind the third-base dugout and watched the action. As long as he stayed in the shade, he wasn’t too bothered by the heat, he added. However, Vazquez pointed out that things changed dramatically as the sun came out.

The North Hollywood local explained: “That’s why everyone prefers to get the three outs fast. any local families opted for Grand Park’s public fountain and splash pad instead of using one of the many inside cooling centers. Several dozen kids ran back and forth through the water, pausing occasionally to rejoin their parents at the hot-pink tables where they sipped coffee.

Mary Ra, age 29, said she brought her daughter Ava, age 4, to the fountain for the first time because of the extreme heat. “She really likes it,” Ra proclaimed. They say, “She was hugging the ground; she was hugging the waterfall.”

Yali Caballero, 45, said she brought her 10-year-old son Jair Salas to avoid “blasting the A/C at home all day.” Salas has visited the fountain “countless” times, and his favorite part is hearing the water trickle down the stone walls. He described the sensation as “completely splashing you.” “This is a breath of fresh air.”

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The scorching weather, which began on Wednesday in Southern California, is being caused by a ridge of high pressure centered over the western U.S. According to Elizabeth Adams, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s San Diego office, a “heat dome,” or an unusually stagnant mass of warm air, has settled over California.

The weather service reported many new highs and lows for the day on Saturday. Lancaster reached 112, Palmdale 111, and Sandberg 102 in the Antelope Valley. Temperatures of 109 degrees were recorded in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, and 105 degrees were recorded in New Cuyama, Santa Barbara County.

The entire state experienced temperatures in the triple digits. Saturday night saw a high of 124 degrees in Death Valley. Redding was 109 degrees Fahrenheit, while Palm Springs reached 115.

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