Discussion: Red Flag Warnings have been issued for much of Central Oregon, as very warm temperatures and a chance for scattered thunderstorms over the area is present. With the chance of scattered thunderstorms, the lightning strikes could cause new fire starts. Thunderstorm activity is expected over the Cascades and eastward tonight. Although the thunderstorms will diminish tomorrow and Friday, there will be an increase in the wind speed. These gusty winds combined with lowered humidity will be a wildfire risk. During a red flag warning, it is extremely important to heed local burn bans, properly discard any cigarettes, and avoid activities that cause open flames or sparks. With the dry vegetation, warm temperatures, gusty winds, and low humidity it doesn’t take much to spark a wildfire! To learn more about fire weather and fire weather education, be sure to click here!
©Meteorologist Shannon Scully
DISCUSSION: Well into the summer season, California is seeing its typical dry weather also bringing concern and fear as wildfires become a part of daily norms. Southern California of interest as recently nearly 3000 are evacuated due to the Whittier fire in Santa Barbara County.
Reports from Cal Fire have indicated that 8 homes and 12 outbuildings have burned, all due to a fire having initiated in the Santa Ynez Mountains. According to the County of Santa Barbara, as of 0700 PDT, 18,015 acres have burned since the initial fire on July 8th, 2017. This fire is said to be 36% contained. Onshore winds are expected to increase in the vicinity of this fire which may decrease temperatures however dry yet warm air is expected to remain in the region. In particular, temperatures in the Santa Ynez Mountains may see highs in the low 100’s with overall low relative humidities the Whittier fire a very dangerous situation for those in the immediate area.
According to Cal Fire, 95% of California’s wildfires are caused by people, these fires and others in California are still currently pending investigation. Contributions to the spread of the fire also are increased by current weather conditions which include; increased temperatures, decreased humidities, drier than normal to drought-like conditions, and wind, which can account for the additional oxygen, a fuel to push the fire through land.
In San Luis Obispo county, residents are still observing the prevalent Alamo fire that has decimated 28,687 acres with a containment of nearly 95%. Burning since July 6th, this fire has consumed 1 home and damaged another with minimal fire activity expected continue with this fire as crews monitor the situation.
Of additional interest is the Garza Fire, in Kings County, burned 48,403 acres with a 72% containment. This fire has burned 1 minor building with no structures currently threatened. There are currently over a dozen fires in the state of California, for more information on wildfires, stayed tuned to the Global Weather and Climate Center for more information!
© Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
California, State Of. "Cal Fire." Cal Fire. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2017.
"Whittier Fire Information and Updates." Whittier Fire Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2017.
DISCUSSION: Over the past 24 to 36 hours, there were increasingly more favorable conditions for greater and more widespread fire weather hazards across portions of Southern California. More specifically, there were strengthened southwesterly to southeasterly winds which brought drier air into the region which made dry grasses and regional shrubbery more susceptible to ignition. Despite there being fire weather hazards issued for the greater Southern California region, a wild fire did break out across parts of Santa Barbara County, California. As shown in the images above, the aforementioned wild fire was relatively large based on its size relative to the bright lights located to the south of the fire (i.e, lights emanating from the city of Los Angeles, California). In addition, note how well-dispersed the smoke plume was off to the southwest from the point-source of this wild fire. This southwesterly smoke plume dispersion adds a secondary concern factor to the situation based on the fact that particles within dispersing smoke plumes can impact the operations of aircraft engine turbines.
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz