Hundreds of people were evacuated from the US city of Los Angeles as a wildfire on the northern edge of the city grew into what the mayor described as “largest in the city’s history”.
The 2,023-hectare La Tuna Fire, named after the canyon area where it erupted on Friday, has led authorities to evacuate more than 700 homes in a north Los Angeles neighborhood and in nearby Burbank and Glendale, officials said.
“This fire, which broke out yesterday, we can now say is the largest fire in the history of L.A. city, in terms of its acreage,” Garcetti said.
On Saturday night, Garcetti declared an emergency, ordering “all available resources” deployed to protect residents and property.
Authorities warned of erratic winds that could force them to widen the evacuation zone, after the fire destroyed three houses in Los Angeles on Saturday.
“Other than that, no loss of any property,” Garcetti added.
“That is a pretty amazing thing.”
The fire was only 10 percent contained with more than 500 firefighters battling it.
The blaze in thick brush that has not burned in decades was slowly creeping down a rugged hillside on Saturday toward houses, with temperatures in the area approaching 38 degrees Celsius, the Los Angeles Fire Department said in an alert.
The fire could make air unhealthy to breathe in parts of Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest city, and nearby suburbs, the South Coast Air Quality Management District said in an advisory.
Tourists snapped shots of their planes landing against a backdrop of orange flames in the hills near Hollywood Burbank airport.
Los Angeles resident Tracy Goldman had her car packed in case officials ordered her street to evacuate.
“It’s very unsettling,” she said by telephone as she watched flames that she said had reached within 200 feet of her house.
Fires up and down California’s Sierra Nevada and further to the northwest cast an eerie yellow and gray haze. In the Sierra foothills, authorities opened a center where evacuated residents could find out if their home was one of 44 destroyed in a blaze about 70 miles (about 110 kilometers) north of Sacramento.
Another wildfire burning near Yosemite had grown to 8.5 square miles (22 square kilometers) and entered the Nelder Grove of 106 giant sequoias, despite firefighters’ efforts to stave it off.
In the Pacific Northwest, high temperatures and a lack of rain this summer have dried out vegetation that fed on winter snow and springtime rain. Officials warned of wildfire danger as hot, dry, smoky days were forecast across Oregon and Washington over the holiday weekend.
A fire about 80 miles (129 kilometers) southeast of Seattle has burned more than 23 square miles (60 square kilometers) and led to new evacuation notices Saturday. About 3,800 homes were threatened, authorities said.
Dozens of wildfires in Oregon were sending up large plumes of smoke, causing disruptions in holiday travel as roads close and shutting down camping areas.
The weeklong heat wave was generated by high pressure over the West, the National Weather Service said.
Forecasters said more heat could be expected when remnants of Tropical Storm Lidia move north from Mexico’s Baja California during the weekend.
San Francisco, meanwhile, set a heat record for the day before noon, hitting 94 degrees. By mid-afternoon, it was 101 in the coastal city — hotter than Phoenix. With an all-time high of 106 on Friday, it became just the third time since the 1870s that San Francisco had back-to-back triple-digit days.
Temperatures reached 115 south of the city. It was a rare heat wave at a time of year that San Francisco residents usually call “Fogust” for its cloudy chill.
The region was so hot that officials with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system ordered trains to slow down on rails that were exposed to sun, expecting the heat would expand and possibly shift the metal track slightly, spokeswoman Alicia Trost said.