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article imageHeatwave and wildfires create hellish conditions in California

By Karen Graham     Sep 6, 2020 in Environment
More than 200 people were airlifted to safety early Sunday after a fast-moving wildfire trapped them in a popular camping area in California’s Sierra National Forest amid record-breaking, triple-digit temperatures that are baking the state.
The heat wave described by the National Weather Service as carrying “rare, dangerous and very possibly fatal” temperatures and more wildfires has hit with a vengeance in California this Labor Day weekend.
One of the new conflagrations is the Creek Fire that started in the Sierra National Forest Northeast of Shaver Lake around 6:45 p.m. PDT Friday, forcing evacuations in Fresno and Madera counties. It exploded to 56 square miles (145 square kilometers), jumped a river and cut off the only road into the Mammoth Pool Campground.
KTLA is reporting that national forest spokesman Dan Tune said at least 2,000 structures were threatened in the area about 290 miles (467 kilometers) north of Los Angeles, where temperatures in the city’s San Fernando Valley reached 117 degrees (47 Celsius).
But for around 200 people enjoying the great outdoors in a recreation site in the forest, the weekend turned into a survival exercise. They had to be rescued from the Mammoth Pool Reservoir area after the Creek Fire blocked the only road out of the popular recreation site,
The California Office of Emergency Services said Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters were used for the rescues that began late Saturday and continued overnight. About 20 evacuees had injuries ranging from broken bones to burns. Two people had to be carried on a stretcher, Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue said Sunday.
"The situation only can be described as just hellish conditions out there for those poor people," the sheriff said. Juliana Park captured footage of the Creek Fire as she and several others fled in a car.
About 450 firefighters are battling the blaze, along with three helicopters and three air tankers, according to the Forest Service. And as of Sunday morning, the fire was zero percent contained.
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