Firefighters struggled to contain an exploding Northern California wildfire under blazing temperatures as another heat wave blanketed the West, prompting an excessive heat warning for inland and desert areas.
Death Valley in southeastern California’s Mojave Desert reached 128 degrees Fahrenheit 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 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 134 F, considered the highest measured temperature on Earth.
About 300 miles northwest of the sizzling desert, the largest wildfire of the year in California was raging along the border with Nevada. The Beckwourth Complex Fire – a combination of two lightning-caused fires burning 45 miles north of Lake Tahoe – showed no sign of slowing its rush northeast from the Sierra Nevada forest region after doubling in size between Friday and Saturday.
Late Saturday, flames jumped Interstate 395 and was threatening properties in Nevada’s Washoe County. “Take immediate steps to protect large animals and livestock,” the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District tweeted.