California firefighters continued to battle raging wildfires over the holiday weekend as record-high temperatures complicated firefighting efforts and the cause of one of the blazes was revealed.
More than 200 people trapped by fires had to be airlifted to safety over the Labor Day Weekend, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday, as more than a record 2 million acres have already burned this year.
One of the wildfires, El Dorado in southern California, was sparked by a smoke-generating device used during a baby gender reveal party on the morning of Sept. 5, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL FIRE. That fire, which started at the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa before spreading north, stretches more than 9,600 acres and was 7 percent contained as of early Tuesday, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
In addition, two of the three largest fires in California’s history are burning in the San Francisco Bay Area, the AP noted, with more than 14,000 firefighters working to put those and about two dozen others out.
In an effort to prevent power lines from sparking even more fires, California’s largest utility company turned off power to 172,000 customers over the weekend, the wire service reported. And evacuation orders were issued for even more communities on Monday as the large Creek Fire burned through the Sierra National Forest.
A heatwave sweeping through southern California did not help matters, exacerbating the danger as new fires sparked in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties, according to the AP. In fact, Los Angeles County recorded a record-high temperature of 121 degrees over the weekend, NPR reported.
Eight national forests in the area have since been closed, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
“The wildfire situation throughout California is dangerous and must be taken seriously,” Randy Moore, regional forester for the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region, said in a statement. “Existing fires are displaying extreme fire behavior, new fire starts are likely, weather conditions are worsening, and we simply do not have enough resources to fully fight and contain every fire.”
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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