Hot, Dry Weather Could Spark New Wildfires in California

Rising temperatures and falling humidity levels could spark new wildfires this weekend in the western U.S. state of California.Firefighters battled three wildfires Friday near the southern California city of Los Angeles.The so-called Lake Fire north of Los Angeles prompted evacuations after threatening more than 5,400 homes, destroying 21 buildings and at least five homes and torching more than 79.7 square kilometers of land, fire officials said.  A fire in the foothills above the Los Angeles suburb of Azusa remained uncontained Friday as it burned nearly 6 square kilometers of brush on Thursday. After the blaze moved away from homes, evacuation orders were lifted Friday morning.Fire crews also contained a blaze east of Los Angeles Friday after closing in on a neighborhood in the city of Corona.Friday’s wildfires were fueled by temperatures that peaked at 38 degrees. Forecasters expect more hot and dry weather conditions this weekend, along with the possibility of  gusty winds.Unusually high temperatures throughout the state prompted the California Independent System Operator Friday to declare an emergency and order utilities to rotate power outages. California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, tweeted it would shut off power for about an hour at a time to about 200,000 to 250,000 customers if needed.The state last ordered rolling outages during an energy crisis in 2011. 

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