California Wildfires Grow to 41K Acres As Temperatures Soar to New Records

Fires continue to rage across California as temperatures rise in record-breaking numbers. Cal Fire's latest update showed fires across the state are consuming more than 41,600 acres. Only a fraction have been contained.

A record-breaking heat wave hit the state days ago and has created a prime environment for wildfires to thrive. CBS News reported how the temperatures are breaking records in several locations in the state. Monday temperatures in Livermore hit 116 degrees Fahrenheit, its hottest day of all time. The former record was 108 degrees, set in 1950. CBS News added that San Francisco, Oakland, Salinas, San Jose, King City and other municipalities also saw daily records.

Blackouts are threatening the state, with officials urging residents to conserve power as temperatures and wildfires strain the power grid. Temperatures could continue to rise as Hurricane Kay simmers along the Pacific Coast.

Cal Fire has identified nine active wildfires of interest throughout the state.

Fairview Fire

At nearly 20,000 acres, the Fairview Fire is by far the largest of the wildfires. Cal Fire's latest update said the fire was only 5 percent contained. The Fairview Fire took off September 5 and quickly grew out of control. The fire burns near Fairview Avenue and Bautista Canyon Road, near Hemet, California, in the southern part of the state.

Fairview Fire Nears 20,000 Acres of Burn
Plumes of smoke rise from the Fairview Fire near Hemet, California, in Riverside County on September 7. The Fairview Fire is the largest fire burning in California right now. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Mountain Fire

Although roughly half the size of the Fairview Fire, the Mountain Fire still poses a major threat at more than 11,600 acres. However, it is much more contained than the Fairview Fire, with Cal Fire reporting it had contained 45 percent of the burn. The Mountain Fire has burned for nearly a week. It is located in the northern part of the state.

Mosquito Fire

Burning for two days now, the Mosquito Fire is still 0 percent contained, according to Cal Fire's last update. The Mosquito Fire has consumed more than 5,700 acres in eastern California.

Mill Fire

The Mill Fire has burned over 3,900 acres directly east of the Mountain Fire. It was discovered nearly a week ago and is 75 percent contained.

Smaller fires

There are several other active fires of interest burning in California. Cal Fire identified the Fork Fire, the Coyote Fire, the Power Fire, the Walker Fire and the Hill Fire as active fires.

The Fork Fire in the middle of the state has burned 400 acres and is only 5 percent contained. It was discovered yesterday. The Coyote Fire in the northeastern corner of the state also was discovered yesterday, and 20 percent of its 297-acre spread is contained. The Power Fire northeast of Fresno was discovered two days ago. More than 60 percent of its 130-acre burn is contained. The Walker Fire is nearly completely contained. It covers 124 acres in the northwestern part of the state. The Hill Fire is the smallest active fire identified by Cal Fire at 11 acres. It was discovered yesterday and is already 85 percent contained.

The wildfires coupled with the high temperatures have created the perfect storm to strain the Golden State's power grid. CNN reported that Pacific Gas & Electric, a major electricity provider in the state, urged over half a million customers to prepare for potential power outages. The California Independent System Operator, which manages most of the state's power grid, issued a Flex Alert for the eighth consecutive day on Wednesday, requesting residents to turn their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using major appliances and switch off unnecessary lights between 4 and 9 p.m.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Issac Sanchez told Newsweek the department could be affected by blackouts caused by the high temperatures, but he said Cal Fire is capable of maintaining operations.

"Most of our facilities have generators and all dispatch facilities would be able to maintain power," he told Newsweek.

Sanchez said power could be maintained indefinitely during a blackout as long as Cal Fire had access to fuel such as natural gas or diesel.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a September 6 tweet that the heat wave would be the "hottest & longest" for September in California. He praised Californians' efforts to conserve energy and encouraged their continued support.

"We are now heading into the worst of it—the risk of outages is real," the tweet said. "Your efforts have paid off so far, but we need everyone to double down to save energy after 4pm."