Story at a glance

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an emergency order on Tuesday to help public resources combat multiple wildfires.
  • Weather phenomenons like summer thunderstorms and firenados have also been seen.

Following weeks of wildfires and heatwaves, California has declared a state of emergency as dozens of fires continue to ravage the state.

CNBC reports that at least 27 fires are burning statewide. Other weather conditions have exacerbated the wildfires, including a heat wave, a summer thunderstorm that sparked more fires from lightning, and even a ‘firenado’ — a phenomenon where rising hot air from a fire meets winds changing direction, similar to a standard tornado. Compounding this deadly weather are mass blackouts that are affecting millions of Californians as high temperatures have pushed the state’s energy grid to its limits. 


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The declaration of emergency, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Tuesday, will allow government agencies to utilize extra resources to combat the flames and support public safety.

“California and its federal and local partners are working in lockstep to meet the challenge and remain vigilant in the face of continued dangerous weather conditions,” Newsom said.

The rolling blackouts have prompted Newsom to call for a state probe into how the blackouts happened. He also signed an emergency proclamation that allows select energy users to use backup generators and other energy sources as the blackouts continue.

This natural disaster comes as California is still struggling to contain the coronavirus. The Golden State leads the U.S. in coronavirus cases, with a confirmed 640,290 cases.  


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Published on Aug 19, 2020