Sign in to comment!

Fox News Weather Center

Progress Expected for California Firefighting Efforts This Weekend Despite Heat

Dry weather across the Western U.S. may force firefighters to deal with the heat in California this weekend. A front moving through the Northwest could bring hindering conditions to Washington.

Improvement has been seen in the containment of the central California wildfires throughout the week, and weather conditions into the weekend will likely continue the trend.

"Firefighting conditions should be acceptable over the next couple of days with winds being relatively light and consistent," AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey said regarding the Valley and Butte fires that collectively have burned over 150,000 acres since Sept. 9.

As of Wednesday evening local time, the Butte Fire was at 87 percent containment while the Valley Fire reached 82 percent, according to the California Government.

Some fires across northwestern California are not as well contained.

The Gasquet Complex in Six Rivers National Forest reported containment of 50 percent Wednesday morning. Others, even across Shasta-Trinity National Forest ranged from 66 to 95 percent containment on Wednesday, closing some areas.

Even across this region, winds will be light and the continued increase in containment is expected.

"The worst containment numbers are in California, but the weather looks good enough for progress there," Duffey said.

However, with baking sunshine expected throughout the weekend, warm conditions could hinder firefighting efforts.

"The only negative weather factor will be the heat, which will be a bit uncomfortable for many," Duffey added. "Firefighters will have to be careful to avoid heat-related illness."

Afternoon highs are expected in the lower 90s Fahrenheit in central California, and near 80 degrees F for the fires in northwestern California throughout the weekend.

Northwest Extended Regional Weather Forecast

Farther north, firefighters will hope for such weather in central Washington.

Although the North Star Fire was reported as 96 percent contained Wednesday morning, weather conditions will deteriorate across Washington through the weekend.

"There could be problems the next few days in northern Washington where a cold front will bring stronger winds into Monday," Duffey said.

The North Star Fire is easily the largest fire in the state with more than 218,000 acres burned. Lesser contained fires, like the Grizzly Bear Complex near the Washington-Oregon Border, could struggle to fight the wind as the front approaches.