Strong winds, building heat to hinder California firefighting efforts into next week

Fire crews will face difficult weather conditions for battling wildfires in California as dry and windy conditions persist and heat builds into next week.

More than 20 active fires have charred over 190,000 acres in California, according to Calfire. Fire crews have been called upon from other states to help battle the blazes.

The wildfires have taken the lives of at least 31 people and have left tens of thousands homeless.

“Gusty winds, low humidity, and dry [vegetation] will lead to favorable fire conditions into early next week,” AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido said.

CA weekend fire danger 10.13 AM

The gustiest winds will likely occur between Friday night and Sunday across Northern and Southern California. An area of high pressure will strengthen over the Great Basin, initiating the blustery conditions.

“Winds to 15-30 mph will be enough to rapidly spread any fires that develop and those that are ongoing,” Vido said. “Gusts between 35-50 mph will be possible at higher elevations.”

Isolated gusts could reach 60 mph, possibly leading to sporadic power outages and tree damage. Blowing dust will also be a concern in the deserts.

Due to the risk of rapid wildfire spread, residents should have all necessary items, such as important documents and medications, in a bag or container near the door that can be taken in a hurry if an evacuation is issued.

Cali wildfires AP photo 10.13 AM

Santa Paula firefighter Tyler Zeller, right, hoses down a hot spot with the help of Jesse Phillips, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Sonoma, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Smoke can be carried dozens of miles away from the fire sources, leading to continued poor air quality and posing a serious health risk to those outside.

“At times, smoke will be thick enough to lead to delays on the highway and at major airports, such as San Francisco,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

The winds will mainly be coming in from the north and northeast, which will be a crosswind for portions of Interstate 5. Motorists should keep a firm grip on the steering wheel to avoid being pushed into other lanes.

The air will warm as the wind blows down the slopes.

Temperatures will climb right through the weekend with the warmest days being Sunday and Monday, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark.

Highs will climb into the lower 80s F in San Francisco, near 90 degrees Fahrenheit in Santa Rosa and into the lower 90s in downtown Los Angeles. This is around 10 to 15 degrees above mid-October normals.

Palm Springs will near the century mark, which is a more typical reading during the middle of September.

There may finally be some relief from the high fire danger as cooler air settles in later next week. Wet weather may even douse fire-ravaged portions of Northern California.