California Wildfire Season Is ‘Far From Over’
Temperatures are expected to exceed 100 degrees in many parts of the state this week. And a top fire official warned that wildfires would continue to threaten communities for the rest of the year.
In California, a heat advisory and a wildfire season that is ‘far from over.’
A fire in the Eldorado National Forest near Silver Lake, Calif., last week. Wildfires have consumed about 2 million acres in California this year.Credit…Max Whittaker for The New York Times
Sept. 8, 2021, 6:58 a.m. ET
California’s wildfire season is “far from over” and the remainder of the year could be rough, a high-ranking fire official warned on Tuesday as thousands of firefighters across the state continue to battle at least a dozen large blazes threatening homes and communities.
So far this year, wildfires have consumed about 2 million acres, which is about the same amount that had burned by this time last year, Chief Thom Porter, the director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a news conference.
“That is sobering,” he said. “That is the new reality. That’s what we’re looking at it.”
Predictive services used by fire officials did not have a positive outlook for the next several months.
“For September through December, the entire state shows dryer, more wind events and large fire activity to continue,” Chief Porter said.
Large swaths of California, from San Diego to Sacramento, are under a heat advisory through the end of the week, the National Weather Service said. Areas closer to Las Vegas are under an excessive heat warning through Wednesday evening. Temperatures across the state are expected to exceed 100 degrees in many areas. As a result, a flex alert calling for voluntary electricity conservation was issued for Wednesday afternoon and evening.
While dangerously hot conditions were expected, firefighters assigned to the Caldor fire near Lake Tahoe appeared to have made some progress against flames threatening the region.
By Wednesday morning, the fire had burned 218,000 acres but was now 50 percent contained, according to a New York Times wildfire tracker. Evacuation orders were downgraded for communities in El Dorado County, allowing some residents to return home.
Farther north, the Dixie fire remains active at 922,000 acres and 59 percent containment as well as the River Complex fire, which has burned 136,000 acres with 19 percent containment.
“We’re right smack in the middle of wildfire peak season,” Chief Porter said. “Everybody needs to remain vigilant.”
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