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Hot Weather Means High Fire Danger And Red Flag Warnings For Sacramento, San Joaquin Valleys

Bert Johnson/Capital Public Radio
Cal Fire crews work the Carr Fire, July 2018.

The 2019 fire season is here, and the National Weather Service is issuing a "red flag" warning for this weekend in parts of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.

North winds will develop overnight on Friday, and will increase on Saturday to become “quite strong,” according to NWS meteorologist Cory Mueller.“And when we see north winds, this is a hot, dry wind usually,” he said. “It’s good fire weather conditions, and that’s why we’re seeing the fire-weather watch out for the area.”

This warning comes despite recent rains and high levels of precipitation in the state this year.

“That’s a great point. We did have a really wet winter, and we even saw rain just last week,” Mueller said. “But it doesn’t take much for the grass to dry out.”

He says grass and fire fuels “didn’t recover” well after the rain in the middle of May. “So it didn’t take much for the grass to dry out,” he said.

The alert says there's an increased potential for grass fires and wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour.

Is this an early fire season? Mueller said “it’s not uncommon” for NWS to issue warnings at this time of year.

He says that people should be smart and vigilant. “As you’re out this weekend, make sure you’re not doing any burnings … and you’re just conscious of any open flames,” he said.

The fire weather alert will extend through Sunday afternoon, and triple-digit temperatures are forecast for Monday in parts of California.