Firefighters are struggling to contain exploding Northern California wildfires under blazing temperatures as another heatwave hits western US this weekend.

The blaze increased dramatically to 86 square miles (222 square kilometers) as firefighters sweltered in 100-degree temperatures
The blaze increased dramatically to 86 square miles (222 square kilometers) as firefighters sweltered in 100-degree temperatures (Apu Gomes / AFP)

Firefighters are struggling to contain exploding Northern California wildfires under blazing temperatures as another heat wave blankets the west, prompting an excessive heat warning for inland and desert areas.

Death Valley in southeastern California’s Mojave Desert reached 53 Celsius (128 F) on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service’s reading at Furnace Creek. 

The shockingly high temperature was actually lower than the previous day, when the location reached 54 C (130 F).

If confirmed as accurate, the 130-degree reading would be the hottest high recorded there since July 1913, when Furnace Creek desert hit 57 C (134 F), considered the highest measured temperature on Earth.

About 483 km (300 miles) northwest of the sizzling desert, the largest wildfires of the year in California are raging along the border with Nevada. 

Late Saturday, flames jumped Interstate 395 and was threatening properties in Nevada’s Washoe County.

The blazes, which are only 8 percent contained, increased dramatically to 222 square km (86 square miles) as firefighters sweltered in 100-degree temperatures.

It was one of several threatening homes across Western states that were expected to see triple-digit heat through the weekend as a high-pressure zone blankets the region.

Pushed by strong winds, a wildfire in southern Oregon doubled in size to 311 square km (120 square miles) on Saturday as it raced through heavy timber in the Fremont-Winema National Forest near the Klamath County town of Sprague River.

The National Weather Service warned the dangerous conditions could cause heat-related illnesses.

Power shortage

The California Independent System Operator warned of potential power shortage, not only because of mounting heat, but because a wildfire in southern Oregon was threatening transmission lines that carry imported power to California.

Governor Gavin Newsom issued an emergency proclamation on Friday suspending rules to allow for more power capacity, and the ISO requested emergency assistance from other states. 

READ MORE: Governor calls on Californians to cut water use

Source: AP