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Triple-Digit Danger: California ISO Preparing For Labor Day Weekend Heat Wave

AUBURN (CBS13) — The California Independent System Operator is preparing for Labor Day weekend and round two of potential power outages. The state's power grid managers issued a flex alert for Saturday anticipating excessive strain on the state's grid.

Last month, excessive heat and energy use overwhelmed the state's power grid plunging parts of California into darkness.

"We have had some lessons learned during the mid-August event," Eric Schmitt, V.P. of Operations for California ISO, said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive proclamation Thursday to free up additional energy capacity amid the heat wave. Under the proclamation, power plants can generate more power to alleviate stress on the power grid.

California ISO has restricted operations for utility companies and is encouraging customers to conserve as well.

READ: Lost Power? What To Do With Refrigerated And Frozen Food

"To the extent that people can turn the thermostat to 78 or 80. It actually makes a significant amount of difference," Schmitt said.

The grid managers are blaming the potential for outages this coming weekend on extenuating circumstances. Excessive air conditioning use from people home during a pandemic and the California wildfires are two factors that could strain the grid.

"We still have fires in California at the moment," Schmitt said.

According to Cal Fire, there are 22 major fires and lightning complexes in California Thursday. More than 12,400 people are still evacuated as crews work to contain the fires.

In Placer County, officials are shutting one of their parks down for Labor Day weekend to avoid potential fires that could impact nearby power lines.

"To have fire destroy something like this that the community gets to enjoy would just be devastating for all of us," Casey Lyons with Placer County Parks Division said. "You can look around here you see all the dry material. We just really don't want to be out here in this environment in this extreme fire danger."

Patrick O' Brien visited Hidden Falls Regional Park for the first time Thursday.

"It's a big weekend but it's important to preserve all of this. We don't want it to catch fire and then people can't enjoy it after Labor Day weekend," O'Brien said.

Placer County says they are also shutting the park down the eliminate stress for first responders. If the park is closed, they won't have to worry about any potential medical aid calls.

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