Unpredictable Tempests Put Firefighters to the Test: Tackling Two Major California Blazes

California blazes
Audrey Odwuor/UCI

A massive wildfire is raging uncontrollably in California’s Mojave National Preserve, rapidly spreading due to erratic winds. Firefighters, however, have made some progress in containing another major blaze to the southwest, which led to evacuations.

The York Fire originated near the remote Caruthers Canyon area within the vast wildland preserve on Friday. By Sunday, it had crossed the state line into Nevada, causing smoke to spread further east into the Las Vegas Valley. The wind-driven flames, reaching heights of 20 feet (6 meters) in some areas, have scorched over 110 square miles (284 square kilometers) of desert scrub, juniper, and Joshua tree woodland. As of now, there is no containment achieved.

The incident update explained that the dry fuel, combined with weather conditions, resulted in long-distance fire runs and high flames, leading to extreme fire behavior. Fortunately, no structures were under threat at the moment.

In the southwest, the Bonny Fire has maintained its size of about 3.4 square miles (8.8 square kilometers) in the rugged hills of Riverside County. Over 1,300 people were ordered to evacuate their homes near the community of Aguanga, which is known for its horse ranches and wineries.

The situation remains critical, with gusty winds and the possibility of thunderstorms until Monday, posing a risk of further fire growth. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection issued a statement urging caution.

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