More Santa Ana winds to bring extreme wildfire risk to Southern California this weekend
The Santa Ana winds, which blow from the Pacific Ocean to Southern California in the fall and winter, can make for dangerous fire conditions, including extreme fire behavior
A fire at the Ponderosa Pines ski area in Lake Tahoe on Dec. 20, 2018. The season’s first fires have burned more than 200,000 acres in California, and firefighters are struggling to contain flames that have ripped through more parts of the state than in the last two years combined
The fire risk for Southern California is expected to increase this weekend with the Santa Ana winds blowing from the Pacific Ocean to Southern California this fall and winter, according to a new forecast.
The National Weather Service’s latest forecast for this weekend shows there is a 50 percent chance of spot fires across the state, but especially in the north, southeast, and northwest corner.
“Many of these fire outbreaks are likely to become increasingly large and difficult to control by firefighters, given the Santa Ana winds,” warned meteorologists at the weather service. “Smoke-filled conditions, large volumes of air in close proximity to fire, and a lack of suppression resources may lead to very large fire outbreaks and uncontrollable fires.”
And that’s not all. The forecast also predicts the risk for extreme fire behavior such as lightning, gusts up to 40 miles per hour, and even tornadoes in the San Bernardino and Riverside valleys.
“This weekend represents the time of the year for severe to extreme fire behavior,” said Jason Hart, who heads the Southern California branch at NOAA’s Weather Research and Forecasting Center. “It will be exciting to see what happens. Keep your eyes on the forecast for this weekend.”
Preliminary forecasts suggest that the winds are forecast to blow through the weekend and early next week, increasing fire danger across Southern California.
More than two dozen blazes have burned in California this year, an unprecedented number for this time of year. The state has