Fox News Weather Center

How will weather play a role in the battle against deadly California wildfires?


Following a break from strong winds and low humidity from Tuesday to Friday, fire weather conditions will ramp up again in California this weekend.

Wildfires have taken the lives of at least 11 people, scorched more than 80,000 acres and destroyed over 1,500 homes in California into Monday night.

Static AP California Wildfire Image Oct. 9, 2017 Napa

Flames approach a building as smoke from a wildfire blankets the area on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Napa, California. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)


Twenty large fires were currently active in California as of Tuesday morning, according to Calfire.

Large wildfires can create their own wind, which can add to the challenges facing firefighters.

"Compared to Sunday and Monday, less wind, higher humidity levels and lower temperatures may help firefighters gain more control during much of the balance of this week," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey.

A change in wind direction from northeast on Monday to west much of the balance of this week may cause some minor problems for firefighting efforts, Duffey stated.

The high pressure area responsible for kicking up the warm and gusty winds will move east of the Rockies for the remainder of this week.

A high pressure area represents a large zone of sinking, dry air that rotates clockwise. The stronger the high pressure area, the stronger the winds can be.

However, a new area of high pressure is forecast to build from the coastal Northwest states toward the Great Basin this weekend.

This high pressure area is about as strong as the high pressure area from last weekend.

"The risk of wildfire ignition and rapid spread will increase this weekend," Duffey said.

"North to northeast winds will kick up and become gusty. Humidity levels will drop and warmth will build in coastal areas of California."

People should use extreme caution with outdoor power equipment and with open flames such as campfires and grills. Never park a vehicle over high brush as intense heat from the exhaust system can cause a fire.

The Santa Ana fire season typically ramps up in October and continues through the winter and into the early spring.

This is the time of the year when dry and strong offshore winds during a Santa Ana event can cause flames to rapidly spread toward heavily populated coastal areas.

"Abundant rain from this past winter resulted in an extra heavy growth of vegetation this spring and early summer," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.

The vegetation has had many months to dry out by this point in the year.