Warmth wave, hearth circumstances to worsen in California as Dixie Fireplace burns


  • Much of California could experience higher temperatures this week.
  • California’s independent system operator issued an energy warning.
  • The biggest fire in the west is the bootleg fire in Oregon.

California and Nevada governors were planning a tour near their state line on Wednesday to assess the damage from a massive area fire near the border as officials warned Golden State residents to conserve energy due to worsening fire conditions.

California Governor Gavin Newsom and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, both Democrats, will be near the Tamarack Fire, which burned more than 68,000 acres south of Lake Tahoe between the two states.

Firefighters fighting the flames there were hoping for more rain after Tuesday brought cooler, wetter and wetter conditions to fight the fire. Thunderstorms and heavy rain were possible on Wednesday, the US Forest Service said, and similar conditions could continue through Friday.

“That wet stuff fell out of the sky yesterday that I barely remembered and recognized,” said Dan Dallas, a fire chief, on Tuesday.

However, much of the rest of the state could experience higher temperatures, prompting the California Independent System Operator, who oversees all power systems in the state, to issue a statewide warning on Wednesday urging people to power up later that afternoon and evening to save.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for areas near the California-Oregon border.

More about forest fires:Wind, higher temperatures could exacerbate California’s biggest wildfire; East coast looks more smoky skies

While some thunderstorms are possible across the west, conditions are expected to remain warm with pyrocumulonimbus clouds, or “clouds of fire,” which are possible near dry thunderstorms.

A total of 81 major forest fires in 12 states burn 1.6 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The largest remains Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, which was ignited by lightning on July 6th. The fire burned more than 410,000 acres in the Fremont-Winema National Forest but is more than half contained.

Tuesday brought wetter conditions near the fire, and although some storms are possible later in the week, the area is expected to remain dry, with winds growing and humidity dropping, the forest service said.

Firefighters said they contained much of the southern fire line but had more to contend with on the northwest side because of the rough terrain. “There is an accumulation of tree stumps, fallen logs, and lumber that provide heavy fuel for the fire. And as progress is made, the area remains challenging, “forest service officials said in a statement.

California’s largest fire, the Dixie Fire near Lassen National Forest, has burned more than 210,000 acres and destroyed 31 buildings. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, it was 23% contained.

Firefighters expected the western part of the fire to grow “well above normal” from Wednesday to Saturday in the coming days due to the drier conditions and temperatures, the forest service said.

The fires have also worsened air quality across the country. Earlier this week, a hazy, smoky sky returned on the east coast from the fires in the west and Canada. Vermont remained under an air quality alert on Wednesday. Parts of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho had a similar warning.

Scientists agree that climate change has made forest fires and their effects worse in the west in recent years as warmer weather and drought fuel the hot, dry conditions.

Heat waves:The heat wave in the west is practically impossible without climate change

In a study published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change, researchers found that the likelihood of record temperatures breaking previous highs by extremes – three or more standard deviations – is seven times more likely in the next 30 years than by comparison to the 30 years before.

Erich Fischer, a researcher at the Federal Institute of Technology who led the study, told the Guardian the data was “really quite worrying”.

“Even under today’s conditions, many places have nowhere near seen what is possible, because only looking at the past records is really dangerous,” he told the newspaper.

In late June, a heat wave in the Pacific Northwest claimed hundreds of deaths in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, Canada.

Oregon governor Kate Brown called it “a harbinger of the future” when it comes to climate change.

Contributors: Doyle Rice, USA TODAY; The Associated Press