California's deadly wildfires, record heatwave spark fear of blackouts
Following a scorching Labor Day weekend, California continues to face soaring temperatures and high-risk fire conditions.
The record-high temperatures have exacerbated raging wildfires across the state, leading to four deaths over the weekend, reports The New York Times. Thousands of firefighters fought fourteen large fires across the state, with 45 new fires on Sunday alone, according to NPR.
As people crank up their air conditioners in places like Sacramento, which reached a sweltering 115 degrees on Tuesday, electrical grids are being pushed to their limit, increasing the risk of blackouts throughout the state. Elliot Mainzer, president of California Independent System Operators, responsible for running California's electrical grid, spoke to NPR warning that "blackouts, rolling, rotating outages are a possibility" and that energy conservation is "absolutely essential." California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) advises residents to precool their homes and set their thermostats to 78 degrees in the evening to conserve power.
Scientists have explained that climate change is behind these new extreme weather phenomena and predict that conditions will only worsen in the coming years. These harsh and deadly weather conditions will be the new "normal" without climate change mitigation, notes the Times.