California weather raises new wildfire fears

California's interior was extremely hot and dry Wednesday. The forecast for Thursday warned of a possibility of dry lightning and fire-starting dry lighting. This is because thousands of firefighters are already dealing with wildland fires that have been burning since weeks.

California weather raises new wildfire fears

A National Weather Service heat advisory ran down the Central Valley, through inland Southern California and into Nevada. An excessive heat warning extended eastwards across the desert to Nevada.

Because of the expected high demand for air conditioners, the state energy grid operator requested voluntary conservation of electricity between 4-9 p.m.

Due to the possibility of lightning strikes and thunderstorms, a fire weather watch has been issued in Northern California for Thursday night through Friday evening.

Forecasters stated that "the combination of potential dry lightning and strong winds with dry fuels could result in critical fire weather conditions."

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, nearly 15,000 firefighters were working on 14 major wildfires and several smaller fires. These include three of California's largest fires.

The second-largest wildfire in California history, which has burned nearly 1,441 square mile (3,732 kilometers) in the southern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades regions, was located in the northern Sierra Nevada. The Dixie Fire was 59% contained, and evacuation warnings were lifted for some areas in Plumas and Lassen counties. More than 1,280 structures were destroyed, including 688 homes.

To the south in the Sierra near Lake Tahoe, the nearly 340-square-mile (880-square-kilometer) Caldor Fire remained 50% contained. The state's 15th largest fire has been contained by firefighters to the point that South Lake Tahoe residents were allowed to return home. Nearly 1,000 structures, including 776 single-family houses, have been destroyed after inspections were completed at 95%.

Caesars Entertainment Inc., the owner of Harrah's Lake Tahoe, said that the hotel began to reopen in stages. It started with guest bookings on Wednesday and ended on Thursday for table games. According to the company, Harveys Lake Tahoe casino will be reopen on September 17 for table and slot games and hotel bookings on September 18.

The 18th largest fire in the state has destroyed nearly 296 miles (767 kilometers) of Shasta-Trinity National Forest, which is located in the mountains on the north coast. Although the Monument Fire was contained at 41%, it remained a threat for more than 10,000 structures.

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