Lighter winds and increased humidity on Monday to help ease fire conditions

Lighter winds and increased humidity on Monday could be good news for firefighters battling the Colorado Fires near the coast of Big Sur after strong winds off the coast sparked a blaze that burned about 700 acres. England for two days and forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.

According to CalFire, the fire was 35 percent burned as of Monday morning. Five hundred people are still under evacuation orders.

The Colorado Fires began Friday shortly after 5 p.m. near Palo Colorado Road and the canyon in Big Sur in Monterey County during a time of low and peak humidity, offshore winds that also toppled trees and knocked out power to tens of thousands of people. people in the East Bay. Flames blazed along the Long Ridge towards Bixby Bridge but the iconic 1930s arches remained unscathed.

Firefighters were still working to target hot spots and control the blaze Monday morning, according to Cal Fire. Highway 1 remains closed from Garrapata Creek to Point Sur. The fire damaged a home and threatened hundreds of structures on Sunday.

Softer winds and a gradual recovery in humidity could be beneficial for weathering Monday’s fires, according to National Weather Service forecaster David King. Fog in the North Gulf valleys will also begin to spread over the Bay Area, leading to sea layer growth along the Big Sur coastline that was previously extinguished by high pressure.

“Overall, it’s been a steady, gradual improvement in conditions, which certainly helps with the gunfight,” King said.

Humidity levels will fluctuate between 30 seconds on Monday and will recover to above 50 later on Monday night.

BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 22: Using water from the Pacific Ocean, a Cal Fire helicopter prepares to drop into the burning Colorado Fire in Big Sur, California, Saturday, January 22, 2022. (Karl Mondon / Bay Area News Corporation)

CalFire spokeswoman Cecile Juliette said offshore winds raised concerns overnight but weather conditions were “favorable” on Monday.

Despite intense rains at the start of the water year, which began on October 1 and was a relatively wetter year than previous years, California is still mired in a state of persistent drought. There was also no measurable rainfall in January, resulting in the chaparrals on the slopes of Big Sur being drier and more likely to catch fire.

As reported by the National Weather Service, “Anecdotally, it appears that prolonged drought is playing out as a chronic disease, where even recent rains and cold winters have not helped. prevent fires from growing,” according to a report by the National Weather Service.

Although much of the bushfire season is concentrated in late summer, as well as in September and October, global warming, coupled with prolonged drought, has made year-round wildfires more common in regions of the world. western state.

“October is extremely wet, November isn’t so bad and January has turned back to a quiet month for rain and that’s why it’s been tending to be drier lately,” says King. “Even though we’ve been getting all that rain before, it’s still creating enough dry conditions, and when you get these offshore winds bringing in drier air, it lowers the relative humidity. and lead to a fire.”

There’s a slight chance of rain this weekend in the Bay Area, but it won’t be too much in terms of accumulation and will be mostly concentrated in the North Bay rather than the Monterey area, according to King.

“We’ll take whatever rain we can get,” he said. “There is still time to adjust the forecast.” Lighter winds and increased humidity on Monday to help ease fire conditions

Huynh Nguyen

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