More deadly heat, fueled by climate change, baked California in what officials called “kiln-like” temperatures over the weekend. Multiple locations experienced record highs on Sunday, and many more broke records for their hottest ever September days. Some areas also never got below 100°F overnight on Saturday night, which is particularly dangerous because cooler nighttime temperatures provide an important window of relief during heat waves — a window global warming is closing.
The scorching heat, which exhibits multiple identifying factors as having been intensified by human caused climate change, also intensified the wildfires which eclipsed the state’s record for most acres burned in a single season. The Creek Fire in the Sierra National Forest exploded from its first detection Friday night to more than 45,000 acres by Sunday afternoon, trapping about 1,000 people near a reservoir and prompting the largest wildfire-related air evacuation in recent memory.
Firefighters are still battling the second-, third- and fourth-largest fires in state history, which erupted in August. While California avoided another round of rolling blackouts, the extreme heat and fire risks may force PG&E to cut power to more than 450,000 people to prevent live wires from sparking wildfires, the state’s largest utility warned over the weekend. (Heat: Washington Post $, Bloomberg $, NBC; Fires: Washington Post $, NPR, AP; Rescues: San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times $; Outages: Bloomberg $, Wall Street Journal $; Photos: Mashable; Climate Signals Background: Sept. 2020 California Heatwave, Aug. 2020 California Heatwave, 2020 Western Wildfire Season)