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Extreme Heat Strains Power Grid, Puts Cal Fire On Alert For Wildfires

senoranderson / Flickr
 

senoranderson / Flickr

This week's streak of extremely hot weather is putting a major strain on the western power grid...and it could get worse.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento says this week's heat could tie a June record set in 1981 that had nine consecutive days of triple-digit temps.

The longest summertime stretch of this sort was set in 2006, when 100-plus degree heat stretched out for eleven days in mid-to-late July.

Managers with Pacific Gas and Electric say they expect to break a power usage record set that same year.

PG&E's Lynsey Paulo says this week the load could hit nearly 23,000 megawatts.

"We expect to exceed our peak load - that's a record for us - on Thursday," Paulo says. "And so in preparation for that; we're staffing up, we're suspending work on some of our system, and we're going make sure that our system is at full capacity for Thursday."

In addition to heat-related power issues, CAL FIRE is preparing for severe fire weather this week.

The agency says it's focused on the northern Central Valley where there's an abundance of tall, dry grass from the wet winter.

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