As is typical in the late summer and early fall, elevated fire weather conditions continue across the West. Red Flag Warnings remain in effect in Idaho and Wyoming. In California, the Apple Fire in Riverside County has burned over 30,000 acres since last week, forcing evacuations in San Bernardino County. It is 30% contained and the cause is under investigation. The fire is producing widespread smoke across many areas in California and the Southwest.
A combination of dry conditions, strong winds, low relative humidity, and hot temperatures are contributing to the fire danger in the West. Some improvement is likely this weekend but elevated fire danger will remain through at least Sunday.
Critical fire weather conditions exist when several criteria are met for at least 3 hours:
winds are sustained at 20 mph or greater, relative humidity is below the regional criteria for dry conditions, temperatures are above 50 or 60 degrees (depending on season), and fuels are dry. During these times extreme caution is urged, because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire. Follow the safety tips listed below:
Unfortunately, the widespread drought conditions in the West will likely continue. This lack of moisture causes vegetation to dry out quicker and in turn creates potential fuels for wildfire.
Follow all local burn ordinances and take extra precautions to prevent the ignition of a fire if you live in or will be traveling through these areas.