California Continues Fighting Wildfire While Preparing For Flash Floods

September 10, 2022

By: Mariah Fritz

California firefighters have been struggling to contain wildfires that have been increasing in size since Monday. It has forced thousands of residents to evacuate their mountain homes on both sides of the state.

According to The Guardian, The Fairview fire in Southern California “covered about 37 sq miles (95 sq km) of Riverside county and was just 5% contained. Two people died while fleeing flames on Monday and at least 11 structures have been destroyed.” Officials stated on Thursday that due to the fire being fed by shifting winds, more than 18,000 homes were threatened by the fire.

The Guardian reported the trail of the Mosquito fire, reaching northern California in the Sierra Nevada region and “scorching at least 20 sq miles (52 sq km)”. It also threatened 3,600 homes in Placer and El Dorado counties, then the flames jumped the American River to Volcanoville and started to move closer to Foresthill and Georgetown. Fire spokesperson Chris Vestal called the wildfire an “extreme and critical fire threat.”

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection warned residents of Reno, NV of the air quality is unhealthy and dangerous. 

The cause of the Mosquito fire remains under investigation. The utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) stated unspecified “electrical activity” occurred close in time to the report of the fire on Sept 6.

Now Tropical Storm Kay is another obstacle; “an oppressive heat wave strained the state power grid and moisture from a tropical storm threatened to unleash thunderstorms and floods” The Guardian reported. The showers associated with the storm lowered the temperature brought on by the heatwave, but “raised fears of high wind and strong rainfall in the coming days.”

Elliot Mainzer, president, and CEO of the California Independent System Operator said that the wildfire smoke and cloud cover causes uncertainty about solar power production in afternoon hours when temperatures rise the most. He also noted that the upcoming storm and wind are likely to create risks for power shortages in Southern California. 

According to the National Weather Service, Kay is expected to send a lot of moisture into Southern California. “Strong winds and heavy rain were likely Friday evening through Saturday” The Guardian reported.