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Jul-08-2008 11:05TweetFollow @OregonNews
Weather Experts Predict Extreme Heat Danger in Western StatesSalem-News.com
More than 1,700 fires have scorched nearly 1,000 square miles of California in the past two weeks. More than 300 of those fires are not fully contained.
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) - The extreme heat building through the West could reverse gains made by firefighters battling dozens of wildfires in California, AccuWeather.com forecasters say. Extreme Heat Warnings are in effect again today across many areas of California.
Temperatures in the central valley and the high desert will soar above 100 degrees, with the heat spreading north and east into western Canada and the western High Plains.
It has been three and a half weeks since an unprecedented number of lightning strikes sparked over 1,700 fires across northern and central California.
This week, a combination of the extreme heat, low humidity and an weak offshore flow will increase the potential for the fires to spread, while dry thunderstorms over some parts of the Desert Southwest could spark new fires.
On Monday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger activated the state's plan for excessive heat emergencies. Cooling centers are being opened at state facilities, while staff and volunteers are advising vulnerable populations about heat-related assistance and prevention.
The hot, dry conditions and gusty winds will hinder firefighting efforts in the West. Three major fires in California, a blaze above the city of Goleta, one near the resort community of Big Sur and a third in the Sierra Nevada, are all less than half contained.
Officials say the Big Sur fire and another in the Sequoia National Forest east of Bakersfield will not be controlled for at least two weeks.
More than 1,700 fires have scorched nearly 1,000 square miles of California in the past two weeks. More than 300 of those fires are not fully contained. Most were started by lightning strikes, but several are believed to have been caused by humans.
A dip in the jet stream later in the week could bring temperatures closer to normal in some areas of the Northwest; however, no significant change is expected across the south.
The AccuWeather.com Severe Weather Center reports excessive heat warnings are also in effect again today across many areas of California and parts of Nevada and Arizona.
The high on Monday at Death Valley, California, soared to 121 degrees. Record high temperatures on Monday included:
The intense heat and smoke and haze from the fires have sparked major health concerns in the West. Most at risk are the elderly, youngsters and anyone with chronic respiratory problems.
The high pressure over the West is expected to hold through Friday, deflecting any storms into western Canada.
Information, image and video courtesy: AccuWeather.com
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