California Flex Alert in effect from 2 pm to 9 pm today, Newsom says

Newsom said his declaration was to ensure resources were available for crews battling the fires.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- California's Flex Alert will go into effect from 2 pm to 9 pm on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a briefing as a heat wave continues to scorch the West Coast.

The high temperatures have strained the state's power grid, and PG&E warned of rolling blackouts across California last week.

During the Flex Alert Californians should continue:
  • Set their A/C to 78 degrees or higher
  • Avoid using major appliances during peak hours
  • Turn off unnecessary lights

  • Newsom said conservation efforts were successful in preventing outages on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, but PG&E said that outages are still likely on Wednesday.

    RELATED: PG&E interactive map tells if you'll lose power during CA rotating outages

    Amid the record-breaking heat, firefighters are also battling hundreds of wildfires across California, several of which were caused by lightning strikes. Newsom said there are currently 367 fires burning in the state, with 23 of them having major spread.

    The governor declared a state of emergency on Tuesday to access more resources for fire crews.

    "California and its federal and local partners are working in lockstep to meet the challenge and remain vigilant in the face of continued dangerous weather conditions," he said.

    By declaring a state of emergency, Newsom is able to forego a lot of the legal and environmental requirements to get things moving. For example, the state doesn't have to go through lengthy bid processes to spend money on projects or equipment to prevent fires and gets around some environmental restrictions. His emergency order spends money already allocated by the legislature.

    RELATED: Evacuations ordered as Northern California wildfire explodes overnight

    California also endures the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Two counties dropped from the state's monitoring list and the decline in hospitalizations and ICU admissions have continued.

    In the last two weeks, hospitalizations were down 17% and ICU rates decreased 13%. The state's positivity rate is 6.6%.

    Central California counties remain on the state's watch list.
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