United States. A new large fire in California, two dead and thousands evacuated

At least two people died on Tuesday in California and thousands more were evacuated because of a new large fire in the Los Angeles area. Another person was burned and had to be hospitalized, according to the provisional report communicated by the firefighters, who ordered the inhabitants of more than 3,000 homes to evacuate their homes.

Several buildings were also destroyed by the fire, which started Monday near the town of Hemet southeast of Los Angeles, and which has already ravaged more than 1,000 hectares in less than 24 hours. Nearby schools have been closed. The fire “spread very quickly even before the firefighters arrived on the scene”, explained a spokesperson for the fire department on Twitter.

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A sudden heat wave

California is facing, like certain regions of Nevada and Arizona, another day of extreme temperatures. A heat dome has settled over the region, pushing the mercury to climb up to 43°C in some places, and the phenomenon is expected to continue until Thursday. Coupled with the devastating drought that has hit the American West for two decades, this brutal heat creates the ideal conditions for fires to start. Last week, another fire, called “Route Fire”, had already destroyed several thousand hectares in the hinterland of Los Angeles.

This heat wave also causes disturbances on the Californian electricity grid. Its regulator, California ISO, has issued several alerts to ask households to limit their consumption from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. in order to avoid saturation. Californians are therefore asked to avoid recharging their electric vehicles during this time slot, not to set the air conditioning below 25.5°C and to refrain from using their main energy-consuming equipment.

In the middle of the day, all the solar panels generally provide one third of the electricity in California. But when the sun goes down, the supply of photovoltaic energy is abruptly interrupted, leaving the other sources of electricity to take over – which is a problem in the early evening, when the heat of the day is not still falling, pushing demand via air conditioning.

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