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'Dangerous' Wildfires And Weather Conditions In California

Cal Fire - Kern County Fire Department / Courtesy

The Erskine Fire near Lake Isabella in Kern County is one of several active wildfires in California. Four consecutive years of drought and summer heat have created tinder dry conditions in much of California.

Cal Fire - Kern County Fire Department / Courtesy

Firefighters in California and other western states are battling wildfires as drought persists in the region.

In California, now in the fifth consecutive year of drought, thousands of federal and state firefighters are trying to get the upper hand on more than six, large active wildfires.

And conditions are not forecast to improve. From north to south, the heat is on in the Golden State. 

062416 Wildfire Safety

In northern California, the National Weather Service in Sacramento says drying winds and lowering humidity will affect the Sacramento Valley and foothills through Saturday, with "modest humidity improvement Sunday." 

The NWS says the lowest humidity, 8-14 percent, will be Saturday in the Sacramento Valley and foothills below 4,500 feet.

062416 Triple Digit Heat Graphic

The humidity may ease, but the forecast calls for triple-digit heat Sunday through Wednesday for the Sacramento Valley.  

"Gusty winds and low relative humidity may cause easier fire starts and faster spread," according to the NWS, which has issued a Red Flag Warning for "critical fire weather" conditions.

062416 US Warning Map

Red Flag Warnings for critical fire weather conditions in portions of California. National Weather Service / Courtesy

 

In southern California, there is a Red Flag Warning for gusty winds and relative low humidity for the Antelope Valley, the mountains of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and for the south coast of Santa Barbara County.

062416 Red Flag So Cal

 

The high temperatures, low humidity, and gusty winds create difficult conditions for firefighters.

Cal Fire reports that on June 24, more than 4,500 firefighters were working to contain six large wildfires in California, covering more than 30,000 acres.

062416 U.S. Drought Map


The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho, says as of June 24, more than 7,000 firefighters are working to contain 20 large, active wildfires across the country covering more than 150,000 acres.

NIFC says the potential for wildland fire is "above normal" in July for portions of California, western Nevada and Arizona.

Drought now covers 100 percent of California, as dryness expanded along the northwest coast in the past week, according to the Drought Center

The drought and summer heat, combined with 66 million dead trees in California, creates dangerous wildfire conditions that will likely persist through the summer.

062416 DEADTREES-Map.jpg