Hot Weather, High Winds Are Fueling California Fires

Posted: Oct 14 2017, 3:12am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 14 2017, 3:16am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Hot Weather, High Winds are Fueling California Fires
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team

Fires that ignited Sunday evening in northern California remained mostly uncontained and are likely to spread because of heat, low humidity and guty wind

Wildfires continue to cause widespread destruction across much of the California, forcing people to flee their home and burning thousands of acres of land. The current series of blazes is the deadliest in the state’s history.

Meanwhile, NASA researchers are continuing an effort to study how climate are intensifying wildfires. Using satellite images, they have mapped the locations of major fires burning in California and found that the destruction has increased significantly overnight. The map covers five of the larger fires in northern California’s Wine Country. As of Friday, 20 blazes are active across northern California. NASA satellite images also show the cirrus clouds that are characterized by thin, wispy strands and are obscuring some of the fire and smoke from the wildfires, consuming large portions of land around the Wine country.

“Yesterday the Tubbs fire had destroyed 28,000 acres and today the acreage has grown to 34,270. The Nuns fire which yesterday had consumed 5,000 acres has grown to 14,698 acres. Atlas was at 26,000 acres and today is at 43,762.” NASA statement reads.

“The Partrick fire had affected 6,000 acres and today has grown to 10,817, and the Redwood Complex which devastated 29,500 acres has now grown to 32,100 acres.”

Firefighters are trying to gain control of fires engulfing Wine Country, but gusty winds in most parts of the region are hampering their efforts and weather conditions are also not forecast to improve. It seems that weather is the hardest thing for the firefighters to deal with in order to contain the flames.

Out-of-control wildfires like the ones that began on Sunday and Swept through northern California are becoming more frequent as global temperatures rise under climate change. Long periods of drought also increase the fire vulnerability of the trees and shrubs. Dry, hot conditions combined with lightning, winds and fires lit by humans can easily set off a wildfire that end up consuming thousands and thousands of acres in the matter of just few hours.

A Red Flag warning over the entire Sonoma Valley/Napa Valley area is called for the next few days due to gusty winds, low humidity and higher temperatures. The deadly combination could aggravate already extreme fire conditions.

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