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California wildfire traps campers in national forest

The Creek Fire jumped a river and compromised the only road into the Mammoth Pool Campground, where they were forced to shelter in place.
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Dozens of people were trapped by a wildfire Saturday at a campground in Northern California, where they were forced to shelter in place as the blaze raged nearby, authorities said.

The 36,000-acre Creek Fire kept about 150 people at Mammoth Pool Reservoir in the Sierra National Forest, the Madera County Sheriff's Office tweeted. Ten people were injured.

"All are safe at this time," it said.

The blaze had jumped a river and compromised the only road into the Mammoth Pool Campground, Dan Tune, a spokesman for the national forest, told The Associated Press.

It was one of three fires that greeted Californians at the start of the Labor Day weekend, stoked by a heat wave that brought triple-digit record temperatures during the traditional end-of-summer holiday.

The Creek Fire prompted evacuations in two counties, said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire was fueled by dead trees killed by drought and beetles feeding on bark, said Lynne Tolmachoff, a spokesperson for Cal Fire. "There are a lot of dead trees in that area," she said.

In Southern California, the El Dorado Fire burned about 1,500 acres in San Bernardino County, and the Valley Fire another 1,500 acres in San Diego County, said officials with Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service said.

Record temperatures were recorded throughout Southern California and Las Vegas, which reached a record high of 112 for Sept. 5, according to the National Weather Service. The midnight temperature in Las Vegas was 91, the agency said.

Death Valley reached 125, an all-time record for September, the NWS said.

Other record-breaking highs were recorded in El Cajon in San Diego County (114), Santa Ana in Orange County (110) and Burbank in Los Angeles County (114). Further north, Napa (102), Gilroy (106) and King City (105) beat records for the date, the weather service said.

The state's last heat wave, in mid-August, coincided with two of its largest fires in history.

Those fires, the 396,624-acre SCU Lightning Complex, named for Cal Fire's Santa Clara Unit, and the 375,209-acre LNU Lightning Complex, named for the Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit, were nearly 90 percent contained Saturday.