Heat wave brings fire danger, power outages and statewide Flex Alert

- The Bay Area heat wave has prompted state officials to issue a warning about possible power outages and fire danger.

A Flex Alert issued for Tuesday and Wednesday calls for consumers statewide to voluntarily reduce power consumption between the hours of 2 p.m. and 9 p.m., by refraining from using big appliances such as washing machines and setting air conditioners to 78 degrees.

PG&E reported multiple power outages throughout the Bay Area Monday, leaving thousands of people with no air conditioning or access to their refrigerators and freezers. On Tuesday morning at its peak, about 5,600 customers didn't have power in Fremont's Ardenwood neighborhood, and nearly 1,300 customers didn't have power in the South Bay.

The heat was also a factor as fire crews tried to contain a four-alarm brush fire in Moraga that broke out about 2:10 p.m. on a hillside next to Campolindo High School. Fire crews worked in the heat wearing heavy gear as the fire spread to ten acres.

"As soon as I looked over I said oh my god I could tell it was right here," said John Piermattei, a winemaker at Vincenza Ranch Wines, who has his operations in a barn near the fire site

"I went into back yard and through the vineyard, there's a vineyard up there and there was smoke probably 100 yards up from the property from the actual house," said Piermattei.

Houses on nearby Hanson Court were evacuated.

"The wind was blowing very heavily and then it moved and I think it moved back again so they came down and told us to evacuate," said Hugo Kapelke, a Moraga fire evacuee," said Kapelke, "They said don't take anything with you. Just go."

Crews contained the fire without losing any buildings, but with heat this week, fire isn't the only danger.

There is also concern about heatstroke and power outages as temperatures remain high.

In Pleasanton, some residents were among those in the region who lost power.

"The dogs were all panting, the air conditioner wasn't on. We checked the thermostat, we checked the air conditioner," said Michael Zwingle, a Pleasanton
resident.

One woman on Rheem Road, who didn't want to be named, said she came home and couldn't open her automatic garage door.

"It's been out for 2 hours and the temperature has been well over 100 degrees and I have very small children," she said, wondering when PG&E would fix the power, "Actually, I'm leaving right now in my car to go get ice because it's super hot and just...you can't open the refrigerator or freezer to get anything."

Some people went downtown to restaurants or ice cream shops to escape the heat.

"It has been really hot. It's been like unbearable, because our power went out several times yesterday," said Lisa Miller, a Pleasanton resident.

Sarina Walker of Pleasanton was out with her family of four.

"It's crazy hot. We're letting the kids stay up late tonight to get ice cream and can't really cool off. So we've been at the pool and now we're moving on to ice cream," said Walker.


 

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