With several devastating fires already raging in the western United States, hot and dry weather will only exacerbate wildfire danger through the weekend.
Many areas in the Southwest haven’t received any rainfall yet this month, including Phoenix, Fresno, California, and Cedar City, in southwestern Utah.
However, for many of these locations, a lack of rainfall isn’t rare for this time of year. What is rare is the frequent bouts of gusty winds and the recent long-lasting and deadly heat wave.
Unfortunately, little relief is in sight.
“Warm, dry weather will continue in the Southwest through the weekend. In addition, winds will become gusty each afternoon,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.
These conditions are prime for fanning a spark or small fire into a large-scale inferno.
“Residents and visitors need to be mindful of these dry conditions by taking precautions such as avoiding discarding of cigarettes out car windows and making sure that any campfires are completely extinguished before leaving the site,” Adamson advised.
Across California, the drought-busting rainfall from this past winter could prove disastrous now that wildfire season is underway.
The abundance of rainfall lead to a dramatic boom in foliage, which has now dried in the hot sunshine and is sitting fuel for any wildfires.
A 21,000-acre wildfire has prompted a state of emergency to be declared in parts of Arizona, where several hundred firefighters are struggling to contain the fire in the windy conditions. As of Wednesday, the Goodwin Fire was only 1 percent contained and thousands of residents had been evacuated.
Brush fires near Los Angeles have burned dangerously close to homes, including one in Burbank which prompted evacuations. Those evacuations have since been lifted, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Firefighters are battling blazes up and down the West Coast, with little help from Mother Nature in sight.
“While some thunderstorms may be possible in areas of the Rockies and points eastward, most of the moisture will miss out on areas currently battling wildfires,” said Adamson.
“The only relief Mother Nature will offer will be at night when winds diminish and the relative humidity rises slightly.”