Today defines what it means to be Fresno Strong.
The heatwave continues, electricity conservation is a must, the air is smoky, and there’s a rabid bat warning amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Wednesday’s high temperature is expected to be 107 degrees, and an Excessive Heat Warning remains in effect.
Though the state — thanks to conservation efforts by residents — avoided rolling electricity blackouts on Monday and Tuesday, there’s a Flex Alert today from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Because of wildfires, the Valley Air District has issued a Health Caution and is advising residents to remain indoors.
Public health officials are telling folks not to touch dead bats because they could be rabid.
Meanwhile, Fresno is one of 42 counties on California’s COVID-19 watch list.
And, that means children and parents are having to navigate the first days of distance learning and the usual family dynamics that can be challenging in so-called “normal times.”
So, where do we begin?
Report but Don’t Touch Dead Bats
This heatwave isn’t just straining the electricity grid and causing wildfires. It’s deadly for bats. Don’t be surprised if you find one on the ground near your house or somewhere else.
“These bats can be potential carriers of rabies,” said the Fresno County Department of Public Health in a news release. “Rabies is a very serious disease and is almost always fatal if not treated before symptoms appear.”
The department reports that a rabid bat was found in central Fresno recently and six bats last year tested positive for rabies.
Make sure dogs and cats are vaccinated.
If you come across a dead bat in the city of Fresno, call the Central California SPCA, (559) 233-7722. Residents in unincorporated county areas should call Fresno Humane Animal Services, (559) 600-PETS.
For more information on rabies, call (559) 600-3332 or visit www.fcdph.org/PETS.
Wildfires Filling Valley With Smoke
Multiple wildfires are bringing smoke into the San Joaquin Valley and making breathing difficult.
People “with existing respiratory conditions, including COVID-19, young children and the elderly, are especially susceptible to the health effects from this form of pollution,” the Valley Air District said in a news release. “Anyone experiencing poor air quality due to wildfire smoke should move indoors, to a filtered, air-conditioned environment with windows closed.”
The three fires cited by air officials as being responsible for the health: the Lake Fire in Southern California, the Canyon Zone Fire in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, and the Hills Fire nine miles south of Coalinga near Highway 33.
The Hills Fire has burned 1,500 acres and is 35% contained. Cal Fire reports that 462 personnel are battling the blaze in steep terrain. Containment is expected by Aug. 27.
This high resolution smoke dispersion forecast from the USFS shows how #wildfire smoke will impact CA for the rest of this week. The video runs from noon PDT today through 3 pm PDT Friday. The darker the grey area, the poorer the surface visibility is forecast to be. #cawx pic.twitter.com/sQPZZgTEok
— NWS Hanford (@NWSHanford) August 19, 2020
These are a few of the many wildfires underway in California.
On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared an emergency, easing the way to secure federal grants and also out-of-state firefighting help.
Rolling Blackouts Averted, but Conservation Still Needed
After warning Tuesday that as many as 2 million homes and businesses might be subject to rotating blackouts, the California Independent System Operator canceled its emergency declaration Tuesday night.
“That’s a wrap. You did it, California consumers,” California ISO tweeted, adding: “Thank you for keeping the electricity flowing.”
Wednesday morning, the managers of the state’s electricity grid, said that today’s Flex Alert would move up an hour. During a Flex Alert, residents are asked to do whatever they can to save power.
— California ISO (@California_ISO) August 19, 2020
How to See If Your House Might Go Dark
You can follow the state’s electricity supply, current demand, and expected peak demand in real-time at this link.
In addition, PG&E customers can look up their address to determine if their household will be affected by a rolling blackout. Visit www.pge.com/rotatingoutages to check your address.