California and the West broil in record-setting heat wave

Rick Fitzpatrick holds a dog after being extinguished by the Fairview Fire on Monday, Sept. 5, near Hemmett, Calif.

Ethan Swapp / AP


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Rick Fitzpatrick holds a dog after being extinguished by the Fairview Fire on Monday, Sept. 5, near Hemmett, Calif.

Ethan Swapp / AP

Sacramento, Calif. — A record-setting heat wave made life miserable in much of the West on Tuesday, as California slammed into its second week of extreme heat that taxed the state’s electricity supply and threatened power outages that Could have prompted blackouts while people were desperately trying to stay calm.

The California Independent System Operator, the unit that oversees the state’s electrical grid, said a “rotating power outage” could occur Tuesday evening when electricity demand could reach an all-time high.

Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom urged residents to conserve, warning in a video message that “the risk of an outage is real and it is immediate.”

“This heat wave is on track to be the hottest and longest on record in September for many parts of the state and the West,” Newsom said. “Everyone has to do their part to help make the move for a few more days.”

California’s state capital Sacramento on Tuesday set a record for its 41st day with temperatures reaching at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). And there was a chance the city would break its all-time high of 114 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius), set in 1925, according to the National Weather Service.

Sacramento native Debbie Chang was walking through Capitol Park on Tuesday morning, pulling Pop-Tarts and a wagon of water to hand out to the homeless. She lives in an old house that relies on wall-mounted units that don’t work so well. The temperature of his house reached 91 degrees (33 degrees Celsius) on Monday night.

“The last few years in California, it’s been really tough,” she said. “I really love this state. And growing up I never thought I’d really want to live out of California, unless internationally. But it’s so hard.”

In neighboring Nevada, Reno hit a record 102 degrees (39 C) on Monday, while temperatures in Salt Lake City, Utah, were nearly 20 degrees above normal, reaching 105 degrees (40.5 degrees C) on Tuesday, the warmest September ever. The day of going back was recorded. 1874.

Scientists say climate change has made the West hotter and drier over the past three decades and will make the weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive. Over the past five years, California has experienced the largest and most devastating fire in the state’s history.

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Firefighters coordinate efforts on a burning property as they battle the Fairview Fire near Hemmett, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 5.

Ethan Swapp / AP


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Ethan Swapp / AP

A wildfire that began on Friday in the northern California community of Weed killed two people and erupted on Monday and quickly spread to the Hemet area of ​​southern California, killing two. Officials said they were found in the same area and died trying to escape the flames.

Although heat wave conditions were expected at most places on Tuesday, extremely high temperatures are likely to continue for several more days.

“It’s a really dangerous event from a human health point of view,” said climate scientist Daniel Swain of the University of California, Los Angeles’ Institute for Environment and Sustainability.

Sacramento County officials were using the air-conditioned lobbies of some of their public buildings as cooling centers for people with nowhere else to go and offering free transportation for those who couldn’t. . According to county spokeswoman Janna Haynes, officials also gave some homeless people motel vouchers through a program they usually reserve for the winter.

“While many people can stay home, not many people have a home to live in,” Haynes said.

In state office buildings, thermostats were being set to 85 degrees (29 C) at 5 p.m. to save electricity.

Sacramento native Ariana Clark said she can’t remember how it was never to be so hot for so long. She said she turned off her air conditioner in the afternoon to save energy and kept her 9-month-old son Benito cool by filling a bucket to play outside.

“As long as he stays sober, that’s what matters,” Clarke said.

Juliana Hinch, who moved from San Diego to Sacramento 2 1/2 years ago, said she had never seen such heat before. She said some of the wetlands in her home have mostly dried up, so she leaves the water in her front yard “for other random animals,” including cats, squirrels, and coyotes.

Hinch said she once lived in Washington state, but moved away because of the very cold. Now, she said “it sounds like a good problem.”

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