California firefighters use flamethrowers in the San Gabriel Mountains to burn burning land along the way of the Bobcat fire.
The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for most of Northern California as a heat wave hitting the western states is combined with gusty, dry winds to increase the risk of wildfires in an area already rashing Flames was hit.
Two new fires broke out on Sunday, according to Cal Fire, including the fast-moving Zogg Fire that burned over 7,000 acres in less than five hours near Redding, Northern California.
The glass fire that had started early in the day in the Napa Valley wine country north of San Francisco had consumed more than 2,500 acres by evening.
The weather service said both northern and southern California would face “critical risks to fire weather” on Sunday and Monday, but AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossio said the former was most at risk due to stronger winds.
The state’s largest utility company, PG&E, planned to cut power to 89,000 customers by Monday morning, mostly in the northern and central Sierra, but also in parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, to avoid preventive fires. The number of affected customers was later reduced to 65,000.
Time lapse video: Zogg Fire burns near Redding, California
Northern California is also the site of the huge August Complex Fire, which continues to burn about 130 miles north of San Francisco. The largest devastating fire in the state’s history charred more than 873,000 acres and contributed significantly to the dangerous air quality that residents of the state were exposed to for days about three weeks ago and the apocalyptic sky over the Bay Area on September 9th.
Rossio said conditions will not reach this level this week, but air quality “is likely to be very poor, especially given this offshore current. It’s likely going to make things pretty bad for Sacramento, San Francisco. ”
Neither the August Complex nor the Creek Fire, which burned more than 302,000 acres of forest 60 miles northeast of Fresno, is nor 50% contained. So they keep spitting smoke and polluting the air around them and, depending on the wind, even hundreds of kilometers away.
People with respiratory diseases are especially vulnerable to this harmful air, said John Watson, a research professor of air quality science at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada.
Widespread: Aerial photographs show smoke and flames rising into the night sky from California wildfire
“The deleterious effects of polluted days tend to be short-lived unless they worsen an underlying condition like asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease),” said Watson, who recommended the Air Quality Index review and the activities outdoors in minimized poor conditions and use of air conditioners in the recirculation setting to filter the indoor air.
Air conditioners and fans will train in California this week, where cities like Los Angeles, Sacramento, Fresno, and San Jose are expected to hit or approach triple-digit temperatures.
The heat itself does not cause a fire, but since the forest vegetation becomes increasingly drier after months without rain, it only takes a spark.
“When you increase the temperature, you decrease the dew point and therefore the relative humidity,” said Rossio. “Basically, you’re making a tinder box.”
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