Extreme Heat Keeps on in California As Wildfires Burn 120,000 Acres

Almost 42 million Californians are currently under heat watch or excessive heat warning.

Almost 30 wildfires, caused by record-breaking heat waves, are burning more than 120,000 acres of land across California.

As of Tuesday morning, the state's Cal Fire site reported 23 active wildfires, burning around the state (an additional five fires are reported as not Cal Fire incidents). Meteorologists believe that the fires are likely to continue through the week as extremely high temperatures are predicted to last until Thursday or Friday.

“In line with everything else that has been going on in the world to make 2020 as crazy as it is — it will probably be one of the warmest years on record for California," Brian Garcia, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service (NWS) in the San Francisco Bay Area, told CNN. "Although we don't know those numbers yet... if it continues on that route then yes, we will be able to start to attribute to some degree the stretches that we've seen in this year to global climate change."

The largest fire in the state is the Apple Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest. It has burned more than 33,400 acres of land and is 95 percent contained.

The Lake Fire in Los Angeles County is the second-largest active fire in the state, with more than 19,000 acres of land burned. It is 38 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.

"All fires are challenging,” Rick Young of California Instant Managing Team 5 said during a press briefing on Monday. “This one's especially challenging given the hot, dry conditions.”

thermometer in Death Valley National Park
An unofficial thermometer is mounted at Furnace Creek Visitor Center on August 17, 2020 in Death Valley National Park, California. The temperature reached 130 degrees at Death Valley National Park on August 16, hitting what may be the hottest temperature recorded on Earth since at least 1913, according to the National Weather Service. Mario Tama/Getty

Smoke from these fires, combined with the extreme heat, will likely affect air quality.

Almost 42 million people are under heat watch or excessive heat warning in California this week, as temperatures across the state are predicted to remain above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a NWS forecast. Over the weekend, Death Valley may have broken a record for hottest temperature recorded on Earth in more than 100 years.

Residents are urged to stay in air conditioning, stay hydrated, and take precautions if they must be outside.

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