Rain helps California firefighters fight fire, ends brutal heat wave

A tropical storm off the Pacific coast brought cooler temperatures and much-needed rain to Southern California on Saturday (Sept. 10), ending a scorching heatwave and allaying fears a massive wildfire could threaten more residents.

Officials had warned that high winds from the remnants of Tropical Storm Kay could fan the flames of the Fairview Fire, which as of Friday had consumed about 27,000 acres in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, and contained only 5 percent.

Heavy rain from the storm, meanwhile, raised the possibility of flash flooding and mudslides.

But continued rain helped firefighters make significant progress overnight, according to Rob Roseer, a spokesman for the state’s fire department, Cal Fire. By 10:50 a.m., the fire was 40 percent under control and there were no reports of flash flooding or debris flows, Roseer said.

“Fortunately, Tropical Storm Kay’s rain came through earlier than expected and brought a lot of relief to firefighters,” he said.

Thousands of residents have been ordered to vacate their homes, although some people living west and northwest of the blaze have been allowed to return since Friday, Roseer said. Two people were killed in the fire.

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