Sign in to comment!

Fox News Weather Center

Persistent dryness, winds to hurt firefighting efforts in California as large blazes char over 150,000 acres

A combination of dry and warm conditions this weekend and increasing winds over the next few days will hinder firefighters in their effort to battle numerous blazes across California.

High temperatures this weekend will continue to average 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal across the northern and central portion of the state away from the coast. The warm and dry conditions will continue to keep the fire danger elevated.

"The weather across California through early next week will not be favorable for firefighters as they battle numerous blazes," AccuWeather Meteorologist Andy Mussoline said.

Currently, there are nine fires burning across California, with four of them designated as large incidents. The four large fires combined have burned over 150,000 acres.

Wind will occasionally play a role in firefighting efforts over the next few days. While wind will not be a widespread problem over the weekend, occasional gusts of 25 to 35 mph can funnel through canyon passes and help fan flames in areas where there are fires.

Playlist used for trending content.

Wind could be more of a factor early next week as a pattern change occurs in the West.

"A cold front will dive southward Monday and Tuesday across California and could kick up some stronger winds in its wake," Mussoline said.

Stronger wind will heighten the risk for wildfires and could allow them to spread even farther, threatening new areas and potentially nearby structures.

Fires that have been contained could rekindle due to gusty winds. The wind will also cause some fires to be unpredictable and dangerous.

One of the bigger fires, the Soberanes Fire south of Monterey, has been burning for over 50 days and continues to spread, with only 60 percent containment. Over 1,000 fire personnel have been assigned to this fire.

One person died in efforts to fight the fire while six others have been injured, according to Inciweb.

The Saddle Fire near Paradise forced evacuations earlier this week as flames threatened nearby homes. Three structures were destroyed due to the fire and, at one point, 300 structures were threatened by the flames.

Containment on the Saddle Fire continues to increase and is now up to 70 percent. Over 1,000 firefighters are battling the blaze. The evacuations were recently lifted, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

While the cold front may bring gustier winds early next week, it will put an end to the recent heat -- a factor that will positively help firefighters.

High temperatures Monday and Tuesday will only reach into the upper 70s and lower 80s in places that have been in the 90s and even 100s.

While cold fronts typically bring unsettled weather in the form of clouds and rain, this front will be lacking in that aspect.

"In terms of relief efforts, the front may cause more issues than it helps solve as it will bring little, if any, rain and bring an uptick in winds," Mussoline said.

California needs the rain as it continues to face devastating drought conditions. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 84 percent of the state is in a drought and over 50 percent of the state is facing severe or worse drought conditions.

Drought relief is not expected anytime soon. AccuWeather's fall forecast is calling for dry weather and the continued risk for additional wildfires over the next couple of months.