SAN FRANCISCO — California continued to suffer on Wednesday through scorching heat that helped propel two wildfires and strained the state’s electric grid, even as temperatures slightly dipped from the prior day.
Some parts of the state saw scant relief, as downtown Sacramento set a daily temperature record with a 109-degree reading — lower than the 116 mark on Tuesday. Modesto was only slightly cooler, tying a daily record at 107.
Still, the state seemed on track Wednesday evening to avoid widespread rolling blackouts. The grid was severely strained and entered a Stage 2 level of emergency but did not reach the highest level Stage 3 alert as on Tuesday.
Electricity demand briefly surpassed 50,000 megawatts but remained below the record-setting peak of 52,061 on Tuesday. The state again urged residents to conserve power during the late afternoon and evening to avoid overwhelming the state’s power grid. The California Independent System Operator also extended the time range it was asking people to reduce power use Thursday; its 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. request added an extra hour at each end.
Six Northern California cities — Lodi, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Ukiah, Healdsburg and Alameda — briefly lost power Tuesday evening when the Northern California Power Agency, which provides energy to those areas, misinterpreted an instruction from the California I.S.O., grid officials said Wednesday.
“There was some level of confusion between our dispatchers and their dispatchers about what was being requested,” Elliot Mainzer, the chief executive of the California I.S.O., told reporters Wednesday morning, adding that the city outages were not the reason the state avoided blackouts.
While the state grid was holding up Wednesday, two wildfires grew rapidly with little containment. In Riverside County, the Fairview fire nearly doubled in size, growing from 5,000 acres in the morning to 9,846 acres by early evening, with 5 percent containment. In Northern California, the Mosquito fire quickly reached 5,705 acres about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, prompting the evacuation of several small communities.
Temperatures are expected to climb Thursday before cooling slightly at the end of the week, when Southern California could see heavy rains and gusting winds from nearby Hurricane Kay, according to the National Weather Service. The Central Valley is expected to escape triple-digit temperatures starting Saturday.