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California Wildfires

May 17, 2014

California wildfires in San Diego force evacuations

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Wildfires continue to rage in southern California on a second day, as thousands of people in San Diego county are forced to flee their homes.

A major fire engulfed the coastal town of Carlsbad, north of San Diego, scorching several buildings and forcing an amusement park to close.

Further north, blazes also caused evacuations at a nuclear plant and a military base.

Months of drought have made California particularly prone to fires this year.

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Record May Heat, Drought, and Fires Scorch California

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By Dr. Jeff Master

Record May heat sent temperatures soaring above 100° in much of Southern California on Wednesday, and fierce Santa Ana winds fanned fires that scorched at least 9,000 acres in San Diego County, forcing thousands to evacuate. Los Angeles Airport hit 96° on Wednesday, which is the hottest May temperature on record NOAA’s Threaded Extremes website (though apparently these records are not correct, since NWS Los Angeles says the all-time May record is 97°.) All-time May record heat was recorded at Camarillo (102°) and Oxnard (102°) on Wednesday. In Downtown Los Angeles, the mercury hit 99° on Wednesday, falling short of the all-time May record is 103° set on May 25, 1896. More record heat is forecast on Thursday, and hot offshore Santa Ana winds will bring extreme fire danger.


Today’s U.S. Drought Monitor report showed grim news for California: 100% of the state is now in severe or higher drought, up from 96% the previous week. Though just 25% of California is classified as being in the highest level of drought, “Exceptional”, Erin McCarthy at the Wall Street Journal estimates that farms comprising 53% of California’s $44.7 billion market value lie in the Exceptional drought area. 

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