Wildfires burning in northern California, 29 July 2018 (Google Maps)
The largest of California’s wildfires has claimed five lives and destroyed more than 500 buildings near the city of Redding in the northern part of the state.
Fire officials say the blaze has grown in size to about 360 square kilometres thanks to hot, dry conditions and gusty winds.
Sparks from a vehicle ignited the fire on 23 July and now many of Redding’s 92,000 residents are on evacuation notice.
Further south, crews have made progress containing a wildfire outside Yosemite National Park but heavy smoke has closed the Yosemite Valley until next weekend.
Aftermath of mudslides in Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 09 Jan 2018 (US Coast Guard)
Only a month after California endured searing wildfires, the southern part of the state is now grappling with deadly mudslides thanks to heavy rain and barren ground from a recently scorched landscape.
Santa Barbara County has been the hardest hit area with hundreds of homes damaged and at least 65 destroyed.
The death toll stands at 17 with almost 30 injured and more than 40 reported missing.
Thousands lost electricity and a portion of a major highway (US 101) had to be temporarily closed due to the mud which covered it.
Wildfires destroy entire neighbourhoods in Santa Rosa, CA, USA, 11 Oct 2017 (Getty Images)
Fire officials say wildfires will get worse before getting better in the wine country of northern California.
High winds and dry conditions have fuelled the flames destroying entire neighbourhoods in Santa Rosa and at least 13 wineries been either damaged or completely wiped out.
The death toll stands at about 30 with many residents being found in their homes not being able to escape the fires.
More than 3,500 homes and buildings have been destroyed so far and firefighters continue knocking on doors trying to evacuate thousands more being affected by the catastrophic blazes.
Sunset over San Francisco, CA, USA, 01 Sept 2017 (Twitter)
San Francisco rarely suffers from hot weather which is why many residents are struggling to stay cool during a heat wave since most homes don’t have air conditioners.
The U.S. National Weather Service says the thermometer climbed to an all-time record-breaking 41.1 C (106 F) on 01 September and another record of 38.9 C (102 F) was set the following day.
Those sizzling highs are a far cry from the average of 21 C for the northern California city.
Numerous wildfires in the region have produced smoke and haze which has added to air quality concerns.
The heat has also stretched northward to Oregon, Washington State and British Columbia where temperatures could exceed 30 C on Vancouver Island.
Children play at a water park in Las Vegas, NV, USA, 20 June 2017 (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Excessive heat warnings have been posted in parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico where record highs have been broken.
Las Vegas tied its record today of 47 C and Phoenix came close to its all-time high at 48 C.
Many flights have been delayed or cancelled since smaller jets can’t operate properly in dangerously hot conditions.
Temperatures have soared to 53 C in Death Valley, California which climbed to 56.7 C on 10 July 1913 – the hottest ever in North America.
Houseboats on lake near La Grange, California, USA (Getty)
A historic four-year drought in California has prompted water restrictions from the state government.
Cities and towns in America’s most populous state have been ordered to reduce their water usage by 25 percent.
Californians will be asked to reduce watering lawns, washing cars and even taking showers.
The action comes as the winter snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is at near record lows, which the state heavily relies on for its summer water supply.
Wildfires in the hills of San Marcos, CA, USA, 16 May 2014 (Stuart Palley/EPA)
Firefighters in Southern California are gaining the upper hand on dozens of wildfires which have been burning mostly in San Diego County over the past several days thanks to cooler temperatures and lighter winds.
The American Southwest is tinder-dry thanks to little rain over the winter – which is traditionally the rainy season – and skyrocketing spring temperatures which have soared into the 40s Celsius.
California fire officials say dozens of homes and other buildings have been damaged or destroyed in the fires with numerous injuries but only one death reported so far.
The cause of the fires is being investigated but at least one was related to a spark from outdoor power equipment.
Smoke from a wildfire behind the Los Angeles skyline, 16 Jan 2014 (LA Times)
The state of California formally declared drought conditions this week in an effort to receive federal aid.
Hundreds of wildfires have been reported this winter – normally the wettest time of year – as bone-dry conditions persist.
Thousands of residents were allowed to return home this weekend after firefighters contained a wildfire in the suburbs northeast of Los Angeles which destroyed at least five homes.
Icy oranges in Redlands, CA, USA, 15 Jan 2013 (AP)
The cold spell in California may be coming to an end but citrus growers say crops in the state have been damaged by temperatures that have dipped to as a low as -5 C during the past few nights.
The mandarin orange crop has been especially hard hit.
Even the major cities have been unusually cold with downtown Los Angeles dropping to near freezing on Monday morning setting a new record.
Farmers in neighbouring Arizona are also reporting losses especially to lettuce crops and prices are predicted to soar as a result.