Numerous studies have linked bigger wildfires in America to climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Scientists have said climate change has made California much drier, meaning trees and other plants are more flammable.
Thousands of Northern California residents remained without electricity Friday after a utility cut off service to prevent powerful winds from damaging equipment and sparking wildfires amid a fall heat wave.
Power restorations began Thursday afternoon and by evening Pacific Gas and Electric said about 30,000 customers were still in the dark — down from about 45,000 the previous night.
All electricity was expected to be restored by late Friday after the second round of hot, dry gusts this week moved through the region and raised the risk of fires, PG&E said.
It has been a disastrous wildfire season in California, with more than 8,500 blazes burning more than 6,400 square miles (16,000 square kilometers) since the start of the year. Thirty-one people have died and some 9,200 buildings have been destroyed.
Meanwhile, winds in the Sierra Nevada foothills and San Francisco Bay Area topped 55 mph (89 kph), and humidity levels plummeted, making for critical fire conditions, said Scott Strenfel, the utility’s senior meteorologist.
“Fuels are drying out, and they’re just very susceptible to any fire ignition, just given these levels of dryness that we’re seeing,” Strenfel said Thursday.