Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Tuesday in response to wildfires in California, as the state battled the effects of a sweltering heat wave, rolling blackouts and the coronavirus pandemic.
The move will make vital resources available to fight hundreds of wildfires that are burning throughout the state and have been aggravated by the heat and sustained high winds, the governor’s office said. Lightning strikes have also sparked fires throughout the state.
“We are deploying every resource available to keep communities safe as California battles fires across the state during these extreme conditions,” Mr. Newsom said in a statement. “California and its federal and local partners are working in lock step to meet the challenge and remain vigilant in the face of continued dangerous weather conditions.”
The fires throughout the state have stressed the state’s mutual aid system, which has made it difficult for jurisdictions to obtain the firefighting resources they need, according to the emergency proclamation. The declaration enables Mr. Newsom to mobilize resources from out of state, a top aide to the governor said in an interview Tuesday night. The governor also mobilized the California National Guard to assist with relief efforts.
Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the state’s office of emergency services, said that the declaration would also ease regulations to help get assistance to those in need. Examples he cited included the waiving of fees to replace driver’s licenses, birth certificates and marriage licenses for those affected by the fires.
The declaration has no impact on health restrictions related to the coronavirus response, he said.
Over the past week, portions of Monterey, Nevada and Napa Counties have declared mandatory emergency evacuations for thousands of residents as the counties battled several fires.
“We are asking that everyone continue to respect the orders and warnings as this fire is still very active,” Sheriff Shannan Moon of Nevada County said Tuesday as she addressed residents about the Jones fire.