Wildfire threat intensifying across California, officials say, United States News & Top Stories

  • Wildfire threat intensifying across California, officials say, United States News & Top Stories

Wildfire threat intensifying across California, officials say, United States News & Top Stories

The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch from 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, through 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16, in Plumas County.

The heat dome across the West comes after many weather forecast models had shown encouraging prospects for rain in northern and central California, only to dash those hopes and switch to projections for more heat and critical fire weather conditions - the opposite of what the state needs right now.

The outages were a "last resort option", said Mark Quinlan, PG&E's incident commander.

The 2020 wildfire season has broken long-standing records, and with no end to the dry season in sight, it's likely that even more fires will occur. Interestingly, on the windy night that the Glass Fire broke out and the subsequent day in which it spread into Sonoma County, PG&E did not initially shut anyone's power off despite a previous warning that they might. The night before, PG&E cut off power and she and her husband couldn't use their well to get water and hose down their home. They aimed to prevent PG&E equipment such as power lines from sparking wildfires if they are fouled or blown down by the winds.

PG&E senior meteorologist Scott Strenfel said the forecast calls for two "back-to-back" periods when Diablo winds sweep the region.

The outages would include regions already hit by massive wildfires this year and in recent years.

Most of the huge fires have been fully or substantially contained over the past eight weeks but thousands of firefighters remain on the lines.

Farther north, the Zogg Fire in Shasta and Tehama counties was fully contained.

More than 8,400 wildfires have burned well over 4 million acres in California since the start of the year, but mostly since mid-August. Four people died in that blaze.

The agency asked residents to exercise caution with any fire sources. These fires have killed 31 people and destroyed more than 9,200 structures, including homes and businesses.

PG&E equipment failures caused a number of significant fires in 2017 and 2018, which killed over 100 people and destroyed at least 27,000 properties.

Numerous studies have linked bigger wildfires in America to climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

The utility pleaded guilty in June to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter - one death was ruled a suicide - and paid $25.5 billion in settlements to cover the losses from that and other recent power line-sparked catastrophes.

Experts say droughts and climate change from fossil fuels have made poorly managed forests much more flammable, leading to extreme fire activity.