Extreme red-flag warning

The new normal:

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is under threat from a new blaze near Los Angeles – one of several wildfires burning across California.

The region is under a rare “extreme red-flag warning” from weather officials as gusts approach hurricane-level speeds, over 70mph (113km/h).

There is concern that the winds will also fan the nearby Getty fire, which has burned through 745 acres.

Wildfires across California have led to mass evacuations and power cuts.

Here’s the thing about California: much of it is desert, actual dry-as-tinder desert, some of which has been irrigated into hugely productive farmland by taking water out of rivers all over the west, and from the aquifer. California has used up much of that water and it’s not coming back: the aquifer can’t be refilled, and the rivers aren’t being refilled because there is less and less snow melt all the time. Most of inhabited California is brown most of the year, because that’s how dry it is. These fires are the new normal and it’s only going to get worse.

The extreme weather alert covers Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.

Winds are expected pick up early on Wednesday and continue into Thursday, with forecasters warning that they could hit their highest speeds of the season.

“This Santa Ana wind event will likely be the strongest we have seen so far this season,” the weather service said.

“These strong winds… will likely bring very critical fire weather conditions, making this an extreme red-flag warning event.”

This isn’t the future, it’s now.

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