The interior of California on Wednesday was hot and dry and the forecast showed a danger of dry lightning starting to burn as thousands of firefighters braced for the wasteland fires that have burned for weeks.
A National Weather Service heat notice extends down the Central Valley and through inland Southern California, with extreme heat warnings extending east through the desert to Nevada.
The state’s energy grid operator has called for voluntary power savings from 4-9 p.m. due to increased demand for air conditioning.
Thousands flee as winds push California wildfires dangerously close to Lake Tahoe
A fire weather warning was issued Thursday night through Friday evening for much of the interior of Northern California as the weather system said it was likely to bring thunderstorms with lightning and gusty winds. often.
“The combination of possible dry lightning as well as strong winds with dry fuel could lead to severe fire weather conditions,” the forecasters wrote.
Nearly 15,000 firefighters are working on 14 large wildfires and several smaller new fires, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. These include three of the state’s 20 largest fires on record.
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In the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades, the second-largest fire in California history burned nearly 3,732 square kilometers. The Dixie Fire is 59% contained and evacuation warnings have been lifted in some areas of Lassen and Plumas counties. More than 1,280 structures were destroyed, including 688 individual houses.
California’s Dixie Fire Balloons in America’s Largest Wildfire
In the southern part of the Sierra near Lake Tahoe, the nearly 340-square-mile Caldor fire is still 50% contained. Firefighters had enough success fighting the state’s 15th largest fire that residents of South Lake Tahoe were allowed to return home last weekend. With 95% of the construction completed, nearly 1,000 structures were destroyed, including 776 single-family homes.
In the mountains of the northernmost coast, the state’s 18th largest fire ravaged nearly 767 square kilometers of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The Memorial Fire is 41% under control but remains a threat to more than 10,500 structures.
California has experienced increasingly large and deadly wildfires in recent years as climate change has made the western United States much warmer and drier over the past 30 years. The weather will continue to get more extreme and wildfires more frequent, destructive and unpredictable, scientists say.
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