By edhat staff
Governor Gavin Newsom addressed a series of emergencies throughout California during a press conference on Wednesday including wildfires, a heatwave, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The extreme heat has caused rolling blackouts in California as extra stress is placed on the power grid. A Flex Alert was issued from 2:00 p.m. through 9:00 p.m. Wednesday evening urging residents to conserve energy to avoid blackouts. Temperatures are expected to cool considerably by the weekend.
The governor signed an “emergency proclamation to free up energy capacity” allowing energy users and utilities to use backup energy sources to relieve pressure on the grid during peak times. Large energy users are also shifting to back-up power during peak hours and utility companies are using power they stored from the Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).
“Even with all of that, we are likely to fall short,” Newsom said. “I am not pleased with what’s happened. I take a backseat to no one.”
California is also battling 367 wildfires and 23 major wildfire complexes as of Wednesday. The governor said the state experienced 10,849 lightning strikes in the last 72 hours and world record heat temperatures.
Some of the active fires along the Central Coast span from Monterey County to Los Angeles County. Thankfully all wildfires caused by the recent lightning strikes in Santa Barbara County were successfully extinguished.
The Lake Fire which broke out a week ago near Lake Hughes in the Angeles National Forest, between Palmdale and Santa Clarita. It has covered 25,498 acres and was 38% contained, destroyed at least 12 structures and 21 outbuildings, and also damaged three others. 4,570 buildings remain threatened and about 100 homes remain under mandatory evacuation orders as of Wednesday.
The Holser Fire sparked on Monday in the area of Holser Canyon in the community of Piru. The fire is estimated at 3,000 acres and is 45% contained. Firefighters have been consistently taking advantage of higher relative humidity to perform firing operations to secure the edge of the fire while taking advantage of natural barriers. Two firefighter injuries have been reported and all evacuation warnings have been lifted.
The River Fire, burning south of Salinas, has grown to 10,672 acres Wednesday morning and was 7% contained. More than 5,000 people have been evacuated, 6 homes have been destroyed and an estimated 1,527 structures are threatened. Four firefighters suffered heat-related injuries while fighting the fire, reported Cal Fire. Full containment is expected by August 30.
As of Wednesday California had more than 640,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 11,000 deaths related to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Gov. Newsom reported a statewide 6.6% positivity rate, 17% decrease in hospitalizations, and a 13% decrease in ICU admissions in last 14 days.
There are 40 counties on the monitoring list with Placer and San Diego counties recently removed. Newsom added that San Francisco will likely come off the list on Thursday.
During Tuesday’s Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting, local Public Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso stated she hopes Santa Barbara County will soon join the ranks of being removed from the monitoring list as the county’s numbers decline.