© Reuters. A firefighter uses a drip torch to ignite while battling the Mosquito Fire in Volcanoville, California, U.S. September 9, 2022. REUTERS / Fred Greaves
By Joseph Axe
(Reuters) – A tropical storm off the Pacific Coast brought cooler temperatures and much-needed rainfall to Southern California on Saturday, ending a devastating heatwave and alleviating fears that a large wildfire could threaten more residents.
Officials have warned that high winds from the remnants of Tropical Storm Kay could ignite the Fairview Fire, which as of Friday consumed about 27,000 acres in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, and is only being fueled. 5% blocking. Meanwhile, heavy rain from the storm increases the likelihood of flash floods and landslides.
The steady rain helped firefighters make significant progress overnight, according to Rob Roseer, a spokesman for Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency. As of 10:50 a.m. (1750 GMT), the fire was 40% extinguished and there were no reports of flash floods or debris flows, Roseer said.
“Thankfully, the rain from Tropical Cyclone Kay arrived earlier than expected and provided great relief to the firefighters,” he said.
Roseer said thousands of residents have been ordered to leave their homes, although some people living west and northwest of the fires have been allowed to return as of Friday. Two people died from the fire.
However, the Mosquito Fire east of the state capital Sacramento continued to expand into the night. As of Saturday morning, the fire had burned through more than 33,000 acres and was 0% controlled, Cal Fire said.
The highest temperatures in southern California are forecast to stay below 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), forecasters say, after days of sweltering heat across the state. Temperatures hit a record 101 degrees at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, the National Weather Service said.
Officials considered implementing an extended power cut earlier in the week, when electricity demand hit an all-time high.