Large-scale fire in California

Hundreds of firefighters were mobilized Thursday to fight a fire along a major highway in California, hit by a dreaded heat wave.

Water bombers are mobilized to try to control a fire that broke out Wednesday and has already affected more than 2,100 acres in the Los Angeles hinterland.

Seven firefighters were briefly hospitalized with minor heat-related injuries, fire officials said.

California is facing another day of extreme temperatures, as are parts of Nevada and Arizona. A heat dome has settled over the region, pushing the mercury up to 43 C on Thursday in the fire area.

The sweltering weather is expected to continue into next week, with highs of up to 46 Celsius.

The freeway-side fire, dubbed the Route Fire, is “a wake-up call” about the current fire danger, said Robert Garcia, the fire department’s Los Angeles-area forest manager.

Current conditions could lead to “very rapid” fires with “explosive behavior,” he said.

“The next few days are going to be very challenging,” Garcia warned reporters.

The “Route Fire”, which blocked for several hours the main highway linking Los Angeles to San Francisco, is partly under control, said firefighters, but much remains to be done to achieve its extinction.

“Intense heat, low humidity and rugged terrain will complicate firefighters’ work,” authorities said in a status update. They believe that this will encourage large plumes of smoke, the advance of the fire up the landforms and the outbreak of other fires nearby.

Lack of electricity

The heat wave affecting the western United States has also caused disruptions on the California power grid. Its regulator, California ISO, asked households to limit their consumption from 4 pm to 9 pm to avoid saturation.

👉You might appreciate  Two far-right activists convicted of trying to kidnap Michigan governor

Among the recommended measures is to stop charging electric vehicles at these times, in a state that announced a few days earlier to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035.

The reduction in demand that would result from these actions “can help stabilize the electric grid at times of high demand and (thus) avoid emergency measures that include temporary blackouts,” California ISO wrote in its alert.

At the height of the day, all solar panels provide one-third of California’s electricity.

But as the sun goes down, the supply of photovoltaic power comes to a screeching halt, leaving other sources of electricity to take over – a problem in the early evening, when the heat of the day has not yet subsided, pushing demand through air conditioning.

On Wednesday, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom temporarily lifted restrictions so that fossil fuel power plants could produce more.

The U.S. Weather Service (NWS) has issued an “excessive heat” alert for most of California, as well as parts of Arizona and Nevada, warning of “dangerously hot temperatures” for the next few days.

The mercury is expected to remain very high – over 25 C – overnight.

In Southern California, heat waves are not unusual in September, but temperatures above 37 °C are considered very hot, even for a region known for its strong sunshine.

Scientists say recurring heat waves are an unmistakable marker of global warming – and these heat waves are expected to become more frequent, longer and more intense.

The American West has been hit by more than two decades of devastating drought, made worse by climate change.

👉You might appreciate  California to ban new gasoline-powered cars by 2035