SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Snow in the sierra, wildfire flames across the area; it was a tale of two seasons across California on Tuesday, but what does that mean for the fire fight?
Historically, it’s the fall months when we experience our largest and most damaging wildfires.
You would think the cooler fall temperatures would really help the fire fight, but it turns out other factors win out.
So, why do we see more damaging wildfires in fall? Wind.
“So even with cooler temperatures, it’s the strong winds that we see in the fall months that really push those fires allowing them to grow so much,” said Daniel Berlant with Cal Fire.
We even have a name to blame for the strong wind set-up: the inside slider.
In the fall months, we often see high pressure over the Pacific and a low pressure system drop into the Northwest.
This brings strong, dry northerly winds to Northern California – which, of course, helps to really fan the flames.
“Ninety percent of our wildfires we contain to 10 acres or less. But its these wind conditions, they can allow these other fires to become major fires,” Berlant said.
Berlant said that even if we do get rain, the grasses usually dry out within just an hour. So these drought conditions are really hurting the firefight.