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Heat wave and Oregon wildfire lead Flex Alert to be extended to Saturday

Firefighters look out the windows of a fire engine with smoke and flames rising in the background
Firefighters arrive at Frenchman Lake on Thursday to battle the Sugar fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex fires burning in Plumas National Forest.
(Noah Berger / Associated Press)

The California Independent System Operator, which runs the electric grid for most of the state, has extended its Flex Alert another day as a heat wave and a wildfire in Oregon strain the state’s power supply.

Officials are asking Californians to reduce their energy consumption between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday. An alert was in effect for that same period Friday.

During the alert, residents are urged to set thermostats at 78 degrees or higher, turn off all unnecessary lights and avoid using major appliances.

The ISO said in a statement that the Bootleg wildfire in southern Oregon, which has grown to more than 38,000 acres, has threatened electric transmission lines, limiting the amount of energy that can be imported.

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Excessive heat warnings are in place throughout Southern California until early next week. Temperatures of up to 110 degrees are expected in the Cuyama Valley and San Luis Obispo County mountains, according to the National Weather Service.

A heat advisory is also in effect until 9 p.m. Monday in the Ventura County mountains and Los Angeles County mountains, excluding the Santa Monica range. Temperatures of up to 106 degrees are expected at lower elevations.

The hot weather has created dangerous conditions for fires. More than 900 personnel are fighting the Sugar fire, which on Friday totaled more than 23,800 acres and triggered new evacuations in Plumas and Lassen counties, as well as Nevada’s Washoe County. It is 11% contained.

The fire, which was sparked by lightning July 2, is part of the Beckwourth Complex, which also includes the Dotta fire. On Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Reno reported lightning strikes along the east side of the complex, produced by a pyrocumulonimbus cloud.

The fire is moving east, said Phyllis Ashmead, a spokesperson with an incident management team assisting Plumas National Forest.

Ashmead said she’s received no reports of damaged structures.

“It’s driven by southwest winds, tinder-dry conditions,” she said.


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