More Evacuations Ordered As Extreme Temperatures Fuel California Wildfires

By: Alex Trent | Published: Jul 05, 2024

New evacuations are being ordered for a dangerous fire that started Thursday in Mariposa County, California. As of early Friday morning, the fire has been 9% contained and burned through at least 791 acres.

Californians are enduring extreme heat temperatures that have increased the risk of fire outbreaks while some are being ordered to evacuate ahead of the danger.

French Fire

A fast-moving fire in Mariposa County has caused local officials to issue mandatory evacuations for the area.

A residential home fully engulfed in large flames during a severe wildfire event

Source: AmplicamAI/X

“If you live in the area and do not feel safe, please leave do not wait to be told to evacuate,” said an online post warning residents of the danger. Deputies have been going door-to-door to warn residents of the evacuation order.


Red Cross Statement

On social media, the Red Cross urged residents to leave now, especially those in Mariposa County.

A photograph of an old fabric red cross armband against a black background.

Source: Khyta/Unsplash

“#FrenchFire: As this wildfire continues to spread quickly, #MariposaCounty residents are urged to be ready to evacuate now,” an X post by the Red Cross said.

Shelter for Residents

Late on July 4, the Red Cross announced it had opened a shelter to serve residents of Mairposa County that will provide protection and humanitarian aid.

A building with a red cross painted on it.

Source: Ian Hutchingson/Unsplash

“The @RedCross had opened an evacuation shelter for evacuees affected by the #FrenchFire in Mariposa County. Red Cross volunteers will provide safe shelter, water & additional resources to evacuees. Shelter Location: New Life Christian Fellowship, 5089 Cole Rd, Bootjack,” said the Red Cross X post.

Without Power

Reports show that nearly 3,500 energy customers in Mariposa County are without power. A video posted to Facebook by Regina Lewis shows the mountain behind a high school in Mariposa on fire.

Silhouettes of multiple high voltage power transmission towers aligned across a flat landscape during sunset

Source: Matthew Henry/Unsplash

“Prayers for Mariposa the entire mountain above the High school is on fire, fire has reach the road on Jones Street between PG&E and Lyons building,” said Lewis.

Fire in Northern California

A much larger fire is currently still burning in the northern part of the state in Butte County. This so-called Thompson fire has burned through almost 1,800 acres and as of early Friday has only been 29% contained.

Sunset seen amid a red sky during a California forest fire.

Source: Bruce Warrington/Unsplash

The fire reportedly started on Tuesday in Oroville and forced the mandatory evacuations of some 28,000 people. Some have begun to return as the fire has been brought more under control.


People Scrambling

On Thursday, Lynette Bailey told NBC News of her harrowing experience to try to get her 90-year-old father to a shelter as the fire intensified.

A Cal Fire vehicle in smoky conditions.

Source: Mendocino/Wikimedia

“It was panic, because my dad didn’t want to leave and I told him, ‘You gotta get in the car right now,’” Bailey said.


Devastating Heatwave

The recent fires in California have been spurred on by an extreme heat wave that is affecting areas in the western United States.

A California sunset seen above mountains.

Source: Jessica Christian/Unsplash

Even during the July 4 holiday, many had to cancel celebrations because temperatures were well above 100 degrees.


Record Heat

In Northern California, a historic wave of heat has been felt by residents that experts are predicting may end up being the longest on record.

A thermometer showing rising temperature.

Source: Jaroslaw/Kwoczala

A record heatwave in July 2006 saw 11 days of above 100-degree temperatures for the Sacramento area.


Millions Under Alerts

As the heatwave shows no signs of slowing down, millions of people are on high alert for the consequences of what officials are calling an extreme health risk.

An orange sky seen during sunset.

Source: Sergey Semin/Unsplash

Axios reports that some 150 million Americans are under temperature alerts across the country.


#1 Killer

A National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in San Francisco is predicting dire consequences for the heat wave.

A red warning sign in a desert landscape advising against walking after 10 AM due to extreme heat

Source: Graeme Maclean/Wikimedia Commons

“Heat is the number 1 weather related killer in the United States,” said the NWS. “Unfortunately lives will be lost during this heat wave.”


What Caused This Heatwave?

The July heat that is spreading through parts of California is a result of high-pressure weather forces that are causing air to sink, resulting in what experts call a “heat dome.”

A wildfire in California seen in the evening.

Source: Ross Stone/Unsplash

This heat dome compacts air towards the surface, causing everything in the area to heat up. Until the pressure that is creating the heat dome dissipates, temperatures will continue to remain high.