Wildfires are a growing concern for many, as drought conditions across the western United States continue to worsen. A total of 13 red flag warnings have already been issued in California just this year, the most since 2014 when over 40 were issued by this time of the year. Winds are expected to gust up to 65 mph in a few locations, and in combination with dry air and soil, they pose a real threat for residents since wildfires can start and spread rapidly in such conditions.
The best chance for fires will be across northern Arizona and Southern Utah – these conditions are expected to pertain until Saturday, at the very least.
“Five to 15% relative humidity values are expected from southern Arizona into central Utah, and fuel conditions will remain supportive of wildfire spread,” says the Storm Prediction Center. Extreme drought conditions, like the region is currently experiencing, often add fuel to these fires.
The US Drought Monitor revealed that drought conditions had increased by about 1% in the West. More than 58 million people in total are currently experiencing drought, and the situation in California, especially, continues to worsen. About 16% of the state is currently in the most severe category – exceptional drought. This is, in fact, a 13.5% increase from just last week. This type of drought is currently present for parts of the Bay Area and regions north of there. The only other period of time when California witnessed exceptional drought conditions was between 2014 to 2017 when up to 58% of the state was in this particular drought category.
Los Angeles, which is currently experiencing severe and extreme (level 2 and 3) drought hasn’t received measurable rain showers in more than two months – not even in February, which is the wettest month of the year.