California, already ravaged by flames, threatened by floods

California, already ravaged by flames, threatened by floods


HEMET | Firefighters battling a major blaze on the outskirts of Los Angeles were preparing for a new threat on Friday, in the form of flooding and mudslides that could be triggered by a tropical storm coming up from Mexico. 

Downgraded from the hurricane category by the time it made landfall in Mexico on Thursday, Storm Kay then tracked north. It is likely to generate strong winds likely to fan the fire dubbed “Fairview fire”, authorities have warned.

Nearly 9,700 hectares have already been consumed by the fire which broke out Monday, in the midst of an extreme heat wave, which continues to spread under the effect of “extreme winds” coming down from the nearby mountains, authorities said.

“I have never seen a fire like this in Riverside County in my entire career,” said John Crater, California Wildfire Services Division Chief. “It's a very tough fire.”

Two people have already perished, trapped in the flames as they tried to flee the fire.

< p>The area to be evacuated has once again been enlarged, and now concerns more than 20,000 people. Authorities went door-to-door asking the most reluctant residents to leave the area for shelter.

Even though Hurricane Kay was downgraded to a tropical storm, it was expected to bring heavy rain to California and Arizona, as well as heavy swells to the Pacific Coast.

According to the US weather services, more than 18 centimeters of precipitation could fall, increasing the risk of floods and mudslides in areas where the scorched earth will not be able to absorb runoff.