I posted Friday about the ‘fire weather’ California is in for this weekend, in particular the Northern half of the state, and sure enough, overnight a fire near St. Helena and Angwin, the heart of wine country, has a fire that has already expanded to 1200 acres.
There likely won’t be a release of what they suspect started the fire overnight, but this is the same region where the ‘North bay’ fires in 2017 started when power lines failed during a similar high wind event. PG&E was aware of the impending weather, but last I heard yesterday, they weren’t expecting to shut power off in most areas until TONIGHT at the more vulnerable areas.
With winds coming from the NE and eventually shifting to be straight from the East here in the Bay Area tonight according to a model I just looked at, this is blowing very hot, extremely dry air from the desert regions into areas closer to the coast. This means that even in places like Marin County, they’re experiencing triple digit heat in spots like San Rafael. Places that normally have their temperature well-moderated by the nearby cold ocean waters. When the winds come from the Northeast or East instead of from the West, it makes for the extreme hot and dry conditions.
A recent quick newsblurb I heard mentioned PG&E has now shut off power to those areas most susceptible to downed power lines with these winds. So, here’s to hoping no further fires are going to be sparked tonight.
I’ll leave you with the satellite fire detection map from NWCG. I had been waiting all day for any update on the map so I could get a better idea of where exactly it is and spreading to. Also note the red highlighted area completely surrounding Lake Berryessa is the “LNU Complex fire” that was sparked August 16 by multiple lightning strikes and burned for several weeks. It’s largely contained and no spread has happened for a week or two now.
There’s one road that parallels highway 29 for quite a ways through wine country here. I’ve heard it mentioned numerous times in recent years with regards to either being an evacuation route or near where a massive wildfire has sparked. “Silverado Trail”. The frequency with which this road has been mentioned in recent years makes me never want to live anywhere near it. That’s all I’ll say.
And, once again, pointing much of the land in this region has already burned before with the 2017 fires and now again with the LNU Complex started in August, and more land nearby now with this Glass Fire. Sometimes literally the same land is burning twice within a couple years, which flies in the face of Trump’s bellows to “rake the forests.”
Fires wipe out fuel sources. It just so happens that many of these fuel sources are ripe to burn again mere months later after rains cause grasses to regrow, and then dry out again the following summer.
Weather models are currently not giving much hope for any significant rain for the next couple weeks. Buckle up, California. This might be a very, very long month.