Very high to extreme fire danger in store for parts of California Sunday through Tuesday

October 24, 2020   |   6:46 p.m. PDT

Extreme fire danger
Storm Prediction Center forecast for Sunday. Extreme fire danger.

A major weather event that will affect wildland fire danger begins in California Sunday morning. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center does not often predict extreme fire weather, but they have done just that to warn of a wind event with very low humidities for parts of California Sunday through Tuesday. At times the wind will be very strong and the relative humidity will drop below five percent in some locations.

Check out the forecast for Red Bluff in Northern California —  on Sunday, 29 mph north winds with gusts to 40, and 10 percent relative humidity. On Monday, 18 gusting to 25 with 5 percent RH.

Weather forecast for Red Bluff, CA
Weather forecast for Red Bluff, CA Sunday and Monday

The extreme weather will begin in Northern California on Sunday then work its way to the southern part of the state on Monday and Tuesday.

Fire weather Sunday and Monday
Fire weather Sunday and Monday, Northern California

The forecast for Riverside in Southern California beginning early Monday morning: 26 to 30 mph north winds gusting to 45, with 8 percent RH; then Tuesday, 18 to 20 mph gusting to 30 with 10 percent RH.

Weather Forecast Riverside, CA
Weather Forecast Riverside, CA
Fire weather Sunday and Monday
Fire weather Sunday and Monday Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

With five to nine inches of snow beginning tonight on three fires in Colorado, I wonder if they can spare any crews or overhead personnel in case they are needed in California? Of course the 192,000-acre East Troublesome Fire after burning for 11 days only has 5 crews and 336 personnel, but the 206,000-acre Cameron Peak Fire next door has 42 crews and 1,903 personnel. The 10,000-acre Calwood Fire that has not spread for days now has snow, 10 crews, and 495 personnel. The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group may have already made decisions along these lines.

As we wrote earlier today, of the 113 Interagency Hotshot Crews in the U.S., only about 35 are still funded and available for fighting fire. In two weeks that number drops to around 13 according to projections in a September 30, 2020 planning document compiled by an Area Command Team (ACT).

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Very high to extreme fire danger in store for parts of California Sunday through Tuesday”

  1. Wow, Thanks Bill, for this update to the forecast picture for Sunday through Wednesday in the inter mountain west & California as well. No one has ever seen this much fire this late in the season, in Colorado Wyoming and to a lesser extent in New Mexico.
    We are so hoping for a significant heavy snow event in the central & southern Rockies to aid fire fighters in their monumental full fire suppression efforts on the fires you just mentioned as well as the Luna Fire near Chacon NM that is burning at a very high altitude without much difficulty at all.
    The forest soils are bone dry from two months of zero precipitation and the moisture content of the local forest fuels are unlike anything I have seen before.
    It’s interesting to note that this is unprecedented for us. We have always seen some kind of monsoon season here even if it was a weak one, it was enough to wet things up and get us into the wet winter storm cycles.
    Covid-19 and the fire disasters in N. California are causing a major exodus from those WUI areas.
    The median house price in Santa Fe just hit $500,000 mark for the first time ever.
    That said, all eyes now turn to the this NWS forecast here, which looks like we could be in for more of the same insane wildfire activity, just like in August & September. I sure hope that I am wrong on that one.
    Does anyone like the website for global weather & forecast modeling? It’s an amazing
    site, no doubt.
    Let’s hope for the best this coming week. So much is on the line again.
    Jamie B.


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