The Red Flag Warnings in Central and Northern California expire Monday morning. In Southern California south of Santa Barbara they are in effect until 5 p.m. Tuesday for 20-35 mph winds gusting to 55, and, 3 to 10% relative humidity.
(Originally published at 7:27 a.m. PST November 11, 2018)
The National Weather Service has issued Red Flag Warnings for much of California, predicting strong winds and low humidities that could spread existing wildfires and force new ignitions to grow quickly.
The warnings in the central and northern part of the state expire Sunday night or early Monday morning. The details vary a bit from location to location, but the forecasters expect north to east winds at 20 to 30 mph with gusts of 40 to 50 with 5 to 10 percent humidities.
In Southern California the warnings are in effect Sunday through Tuesday for northeast winds of 20 to 35 mph with gusts at 45 to 55, along with single digit relative humidities. There will be little humidity recovery during the night during this period. The strongest winds will be Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Red Flag Warnings are in effect until 10 p.m. Friday for areas in Southern California. The locations affected include areas in Orange, Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties.
The National Weather Service expects northeast to east winds of 15 to 30 mph with gusts of 45. Some isolated gusts up to 55 mph could occur near isolated ridge tops. The relative humidity will be in the 10 to 20 percent range.
The map was current at 7:15 a.m. PDT on Friday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts.
The fires are threatening communities, including Woodland Hills and Elk Ridge
(UPDATED at 11:51 a.m. MDT September 16, 2018)
The Incident Management Team reports that as of 12:16 a.m. Sunday the Pole Creek Fire had burned 61,248 acres and the Bald Mountain Fire, 13,509 acres.
(Originally published at 9:12 a.m. MDT September 15, 2018)
Fifteen miles south of Provo, Utah the Bald Mountain and Pole Creek fires had come within half a mile of merging when the fires were mapped at 2:36 a.m. Saturday. That city is not threatened but residents of Elk Ridge and Woodland Hills who have not evacuated yet are looking at flames on the steep slopes uncomfortably close to their homes.
The fires were started by lightning on the Unita National Forest — Pole Creek on September 6 and Bald Mountain on August 24. Initially Forest Service personnel allowed them to burn with the intention of suppressing only the portions that may threaten property, private land, important natural resources, or lives. They wanted to herd them around, while re-introducing a natural process, fire, into the environment.
To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain Fires, including the most current, click HERE.
Now they have both spread outside the land managed by the Forest Service and are burning private private property. No structures have been reported burned, but the estimated costs of suppressing the fires to date is almost $2 million. That number will keep rising as more firefighting resources flood in to augment the 433 personnel already on scene.
The reported sizes of the fires have been rather confusing at times, but according to a mapping flight at 10:45 Friday night the Pole Creek Fire was 48,497 acres and the Bald Mountain Fire had burned 11,090, for a combined total of 59,587 acres. A satellite overflight at 2:36 a.m. Saturday showed additional growth on the west and north sides that occurred in the four hours between the flights.
With a Red Flag Warning in effect through Sunday, rapid fire growth to the north and east is expected to continue, with strong winds, and on Saturday, single-digit relative humidity.
Red Flag Warnings are in effect in portions of eight states
While residents along the east coast are evacuating as a hurricane approaches, Red Flag Warnings are in effect for enhanced wildfire danger in areas of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado.
The map below is the forecast for the distribution of wildfire smoke at 5 p.m. MDT September 12, 2018.
Six states have Red Flag Warnings in effect, August 26, 2018
The NASA satellite photo above taken August 25, 2018 shows heat (in red) and smoke created by the fires in parts of California, Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho. Cloud cover in Washington and Northern Oregon made it impossible to see the fires in those areas.
Six states have Red Flag Warnings (red areas) in effect for August 26, 2018.
On Sunday forecasters expect wildfire smoke to be transported east or northeast in most areas.
The map above is the forecast for the distribution of wildfire smoke at 6 p.m. MDT August 25, 2018. The states being the hardest hit today include California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
Below are the areas under Red Flag Warnings (red) on August 25 and Fire Weather Watches (yellow).