California declares heatwave state of emergency as 3.3m homes face blackouts and record 130F conditions fuel wildfires – The Sun

CALIFORNIA Governor Gavin Newsom declared on a state of emergency on Tuesday – a means of ensuring the state gets viral resources need to fight wildfires that have raged during a stifling heatwave.

There are currently at least 27 wildfires raging across the state, with flame intensifying as temperatures soared over the weekend.


According to a map by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, some of the fires were caused by lightning from a rare summer thunderstorm on Sunday.

Over the weekend, a fiery tornado was spotted near the Nevada border where the Loyalton Fire continues to burn in Tahoe National Forest.

By declaring a state of emergency, agencies will be able to deploy every possible resource available to them, Newsom said.

The governor said the order was enacted in order to keep residents safe under "extreme" conditions, which have seen temperatures of more than 130 degrees in some areas.

ONGOING FIRES

Newsom, whose state has experience rolling blackouts since Friday, added: "California and its federal and local partners are working in lockstep to meet the challenge and remain vigilant in the face of continued dangerous weather conditions."

On Monday, Newsom signed an emergency proclamation in order to prevent the rolling blackouts, which were caused by the state's energy grids being pushed to their limits.

The order will allow some users and utilities to use "backup energy sources" during peak times.

However, the California Independent System Operator, which manages the grid, has announced on Tuesday that it "anticipates the need to interrupt" in the evenings.

These interruptions would be the result of high demand.


Officials estimated that peak electricity consumption on Monday would likely exceed the available supply statewide by as much as 4,400 megawatts – roughly equivalent to the amount of power needed by 3.3 million homes.

The operator said in a Twitter post on Tuesday that its website had gone down on Tuesday afternoon because of a surge in people looking for information.

According to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Tuesday was the area's highest recoded demand for power in 2020.

By the early evening, it was still 125 degrees at the Death Valley Furnace Creek visitor's center, according to the National Weather Service.

Triple-digit temperatures have been commonplace across the region over recent days, and the likes of El Centro and San Diego, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties have excessive heat warnings in place over the coming days.

Federal forecasters also said Los Angeles will be under such heat advisory warnings through Thursday night, while the San Francisco Bay Area faces a similar warning through Wednesday night.

The National Weather Service has urged West Coast residents to take the recent temperatures seriously.

The agency tweeted: "Yeah, it's summer, and summer is hot, but this is different.

"These are record high temperatures in what is typically one the hottest times of the year anyways."


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