High Winds, Heat Boost Fire Threat as California Faces Long Season

Fire danger is on the rise in California, as warm, dry and windy weather heralds a potentially long and difficult season. For several consecutive years, increasingly extreme, climate-change fueled wildfires have devastated parts of the state.

The area of greatest concern late this week is in Northern California, where strong northerly winds will combine with dry vegetation in the Sacramento Valley, after temperatures soared to 100 degrees on Wednesday afternoon.

Southland Heat Wave Will Bring Unstable Conditions, Intense Fire Danger

As crews continue to combat wildfires in Northern California, the southern part of the state is preparing for extreme heat and elevated fire danger.

The National Weather Service on Wednesday issued an excessive heat warning across portions of Southern California’s high desert, with the Apple and Lucerne valleys preparing for temperatures that could climb as high as 120 degrees by the weekend — potentially the hottest of the year so far.

Drought Woes in Dry US West Raise July 4 Fireworks Fears

Many Americans aching for normalcy as pandemic restrictions end are looking forward to traditional Fourth of July fireworks. But with a historic drought in the U.S. West and fears of another devastating wildfire season, officials are canceling displays, passing bans on setting off fireworks or begging for caution.

Fireworks already have caused a few small wildfires, including one started by a child in northern Utah and another in central California. Last year, a pyrotechnic device designed for a baby’s gender reveal celebration sparked a California blaze that killed a firefighter during a U.S. wildfire season that scorched the second-highest amount of land in nearly 40 years.

Some regions of the American West are experiencing their worst drought conditions in more than a century this year, said Jennifer Balch, director of Earth Lab at the University of Colorado.

Santa Ana Winds Expected in San Diego County Mountains, Valleys this Week

Santa Ana winds will return amid dry conditions this week, significantly raising the risk of wildfires in the San Diego County mountains and western valleys, according to the National Weather Service.

Moderate strength winds were expected Tuesday in the mountains, forecasters said. Winds out of the east were expected to be around 15 mph, with gusts potentially reaching 30 mph Tuesday afternoon.

California’s Mountain Snow Cover is Vanishing a Month Early, in a Worrying Setup for Fire Season

On Monday, California fire officials gathered to launch the state’s annual Wildfire Preparedness Week. The message they delivered was clear: Summer 2020 would not mimic summer 2019, when wildfires mostly remained small and manageable into August.

High Fire Danger Continues In Southern California Through Wednesday; Pattern Change May Increase Rain Chances Thanksgiving Week

Dangerous wildfire conditions will continue in Southern California into midweek as northern parts of the state see some improvement. Thanksgiving week, a pattern change may finally occur, and that could offer some good news in the form of increased rainfall chances. Firefighting conditions will remain hostile in Southern California through at least Wednesday. Critical to extremely critical fire weather conditions are expected Tuesday, according to NOAA’s fire weather outlook. That means a combination of gusty winds and low relative humidity will lead to the potential of rapid growth for any ongoing fires and any new fires that may erupt.

Red Flag Fire Weather Warning Issued For San Diego County

A red flag fire weather warning will be in place across San Diego County, with the exception of the coast, from 10 a.m. Thursday afternoon to 10 p.m. Friday due to a combination of moderate Santa Ana winds, low humidity and warm temperatures. The National Weather Service says the winds will arrive out of the northeast and will blow 20 to 30 mph, with gusts to 30 to 40 mph, mostly across the region’s valleys and mountains. A few gusts could reach the 50 to 65 mph range, especially in the Alpine area.

Southern California To Face Enhanced Fire Danger Through Start Of November

Locally gusty winds, warm weather and no signs of needed rain returning will keep the fire danger elevated across Southern California through the start of November. November is expected to pick up where October ended with winds blowing over parts of Southern California. “While the peak of the Santa Ana wind event occurred on Wednesday morning, locally gusty winds can persist in the wind-prone areas of Southern California late this week,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Maggie Samuhel.