The wildfires in Southern California continue to rage on, including the Thomas Fire, which is California’s fourth largest wildfire on record. Luckily during this week, there hasn’t been a major expansion of the active wildfires but that will likely change this weekend as Santa Ana winds peak.
Strong winds and low humidity are two of the most important ingredients for wildfires. Both of these will be present this weekend across California with relative humidity values as low as 5 percent. Winds will also gust up to 60 mph in the mountain peaks and up to 40 mph in the lower elevations. These winds will be originating from the intermountain West as a Santa Ana wind event sets up. With this set up, there is a strong high pressure over the interior West. High pressure spins clockwise, so based on its position, it will bring strong winds from the Southwest to the California coast.The risk for wildfires will be critical both Sunday and Monday not only in Southern California but also in the Bay Area up towards San Francisco. Be prepared for the very rapid development and growth of wildfires as well as very poor air quality due to the smoke. Also be cautious with potential fire ignition sources to prevent any wildfires from forming.