California heat wave sparks fears of fires, power outages

California was in a state of emergency Thursday as a brutal heat wave brought the threat of power outages and wildfires.

Temperatures will continue to reach triple digits in many areas of the state through Labor Day, forecasters said,

prompting concerns that people will turn up the air conditioning and strain the state's electrical grid.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday declared an emergency to increase energy production and relaxed rules aimed at curbing air pollution and global warming gases.

“All of us have been trying to outrun Mother Nature, but it’s pretty clear Mother Nature has outrun us,” Newsom said.

“The reality is we’re living in an era of extremes: extreme heat, extreme drought — and with the flooding we’re experiencing around the globe.”

Newsom’s declaration followed a “Flex Alert” call for conservation on Wednesday afternoon and again for Thursday afternoon by the California Independent System Operator

In August 2020, a record heat wave caused a surge in power use for air conditioning that overtaxed the grid.

That caused two consecutive nights of rolling blackouts, affecting hundreds of thousands of residential and business customers.

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