World

Heat relief forecast for California fires

By AAP Newswire

California firefighters battling several wildfires that have destroyed dozens of structures and forced thousands of residents to evacuate will get some relief as temperatures cool from scorching levels later this week, the National Weather Service (NWS) says.

"Starting Monday we're going to see a gradual cool down, as we shave just a few degrees off each day until about midweek it gets to something like normal, in the mid-90s (Fahrenheit) inland and 80s at the coast," said Jim Hayes of the NWS Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

Dozens of blazes have broken out across the western United States, fanned by scorching heat, winds and low humidity in a particularly intense fire season.

This year's fires have burned through more than 1.17 million hectares by Friday, already more than the annual average of about 971,000 hectares over the past 10 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The remains of an unidentified person were found on Friday near a home burned to the ground by the Klamathon Fire, which broke out near California's border with Oregon, marking the first fatality of the fire season.

A firefighter was injured battling the blaze but has since been released from the hospital, authorities say.

The Klamathon Fire, which has destroyed 81 structures and blackened about 14,000 hectares, was 25 per cent contained on Sunday evening, Cal Fire said.

Steep terrain and erratic winds have made it difficult for firefighters to fight the Klamathon Fire, authorities said.

Elsewhere in Northern California, the County Fire has charred more than 36,500 hectares in sparsely populated wooded areas of Napa and Yolo Counties.

In Colorado, officials said fire crews were progressing in the battle against the Spring Creek Fire, which broke out on June 27 and has consumed 43,295 hectares.