Bay Area fire season isn’t over with wind event in forecast

Wildfire season is not over in California.

High winds fanned flames in Orange County Thursday as the Bond Fire tore through a parched landscape desperate for a soaking of winter rains. The winds calmed Friday, but a tough firefight continues.

A wind event is in the forecast for the greater Bay Area beginning Sunday night and running into Monday. It’s too early to know just how strong the winds will be, but the North Bay and East Bay hills and mountains will likely be impacted.

The National Weather Service has sounded the alarm that there will be an elevated risk for wildfires sparking and spreading, especially with the region experiencing below-normal rainfall in October and November.

“We did get a little bit of rain in November and that was very beneficial,” said Brian Garcia, a forecaster with the weather service. “Despite being the beneficiary of rain, we haven’t had any since. And then we’ve been very sunny and seen a sharp drying of the fields again in recent days.”

Offshore winds blow hot air from inland areas toward the coast and are known for drying out the landscape, and essentially sucking the moisture out of the vegetation and leaving it tinder-dry and vulnerable to burning. These winds can also topple and damage power lines, sparking wildfires, and Southern California has seen power outages in recent days to reduce the risk.

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