Fall heat wave to bring California more fire danger

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California’s siege of wildfires has significantly quieted but forecasters warned Tuesday that a fall heat wave could bring back critical fire weather conditions this week.

Fire weather watches will go into effect in much of Northern California early Wednesday due to high pressure producing hot and dry conditions with gusty offshore winds, the National Weather Service said. Peak gusts are likely to start late Wednesday.

Pacific Gas & Electric said it is likely some circuits will be turned off to try to prevent fires from being started by damaged power lines.

Southern California, which started the week with triple-digit high temperatures, is predicted to see particularly gusty northeast winds Friday.

More than 8,400 wildfires have burned well over 6,250 square miles (16,187.4 square kilometers) in California since the start of the year, but mostly since mid-August. Thirty-one people have died and more than 9,200 structures have been destroyed.

Most of the huge fires have been fully or substantially contained over the past eight weeks but thousands of firefighters remain on the lines.

Numerous studies have linked bigger wildfires in America to climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Scientists say climate change has made California much drier, meaning trees and other plants are more flammable.

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