During the Labor Day weekend, California experienced its hottest weekend ever recorded, causing many residents to evacuate and numerous power outages. Firefighters are rushing to contain the fires, but the torrid weather is hindering their efforts.
The 2020 Labor Day weekend has brought upon record breaking temperatures in the triple digits across California. With concerns of fires starting from the intense heat, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency and alerted residents to conserve power from the hours between 3 P.M. and 10 P.M on September 6th.
Alongside torrid weather conditions, a fire ignited by a smoke device during a gender reveal party in San Bernardino County added insult to injury. As of September 16th, the fire, named El Dorado, has burned 18,000 acres and firefighters have only contained sixty percent of the fire. Another significant fire, the Creek Fire, has burned an extraordinary 220,000 thousand acres in the Sierra National Forest and is only 18% contained; the causes of the Creek fire are still under investigation.
The heat has certainly made it much more difficult for firefighters to contain the numerous fires, and many residents have been forced to evacuate. Risks of power outages and extreme air quality indexes have plagued California, and the orange skies has been a clear sight that change needs to be enacted.
A tweet from Governor Newsom reveals concerning statistics, comparing the amount of fires and acres burned in 2019 and 2020. As of September 2020, the seven thousand fires have burned approximately 19.5 times the acres of 2019’s statistics.
The collection of fires from just August to September has resulted in at least 19 fatalities and more than 3 million acres of land burned. Not only has California experienced record breaking temperatures, but just in 2020 alone, the number of recorded fires has surpassed previous records.
As of October 12th, the El Dorado Fire is still burning acres for the 36th day now, and the California Department of Transportation has begun to repair State Route 38 from the fire’s destruction. The Creek Fire is also still burning, with approximately 334,000 acres burned and is only 55% contained.