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California firefighters use flamethrowers in the San Gabriel Mountains to ignite the ground on the Bobcat fire path.

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SAN FRANCISCO – California residents, who recently took a break from the unhealthy air quality produced by a wave of wildfires this month, are now holding their breath, hoping those conditions won’t recur.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for nearly all of Northern California as a heatwave hitting western states combines with dry gusts to increase the risk of wildfires in a region already hit by the wave of fires.

A couple of new fires broke out on Sunday, including the fast-paced Zogg Fire which burned 7,000 acres in less than five hours near Redding in Northern California, according to Cal Fire.

The Glass Fire, which ignited early in the morning in the Napa Valley wine region north of San Francisco, had consumed more than 2,500 acres by evening.

The Weather Service said both northern and southern California would be exposed to “critical weather hazards” on Sunday and Monday, but AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossio said that due to the stronger winds, the former is the more in danger.

The state’s largest utility company, PG&E, said it plans to shut down 89,000 customers until Monday morning, mainly in the Northern and Central Sierra, but also extending to parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, as a measure. preventive to avoid starting fires. The number of affected customers was subsequently reduced to 65,000.

Timelapse video: Zogg Fire burns near Redding, California

Northern California is also the site of the huge August Complex Fire, which continues to burn about 130 miles north of San Francisco. The largest fire in the state’s history charred more than 873,000 acres and was a major contributor to the dangerous air quality that state residents were exposed to for days about three weeks ago and to the apocalyptic skies of the Bay Area on 9. September.

Rossio said conditions this week will not reach that level, but air quality “will probably be very poor, especially given this offshore flow. It will probably make things pretty bad for Sacramento, San Francisco.”

The car park of a Safeway supermarket in the Diamond Heights neighborhood of San Francisco on September 9, 2020 at 11:15 am The red-orange tint of the sky comes from numerous fires in the region. (Photo: Elizabeth Weise)

Neither the August Complex nor the Creek Fire, which incinerated more than 302,000 acres of forest 60 miles northeast of Fresno, is still 50 percent contained. Then they continue to spew smoke and dirty the air in their surroundings and, depending on the wind, even hundreds of miles away.

People with respiratory disorders are especially susceptible to that harmful air, said John Watson, a research professor of air quality science at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada.

Widespread: Aerial footage shows the smoke and flames of wildfires rising in the California night sky

“The negative health effects of polluted days are typically short-lived unless they aggravate an already underlying condition such as asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease),” said Watson, who advised checking the index. of air quality, minimizing outdoor activities in poor conditions and using air conditioning units in the recirculation environment to filter indoor air.

Air conditioners and fans are calculating for training this week in California, where cities like Los Angeles, Sacramento, Fresno and San Jose are expected to hit or approach triple-digit temperatures.

The heat does not ignite fires alone, but with forest vegetation getting drier after months without rain, a spark is enough.

“When you increase the temperature, you are also decreasing the dew point and therefore decreasing the relative humidity,” Rossio said. “Basically, you are creating a powder keg.”

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