California Fire Threat Peaks Sunday as Dry Winds Sweep State
(Bloomberg) -- Hot dry winds sweeping across Southern California are raising the risk of wildfires, potentially leaving more than 16,000 customers in the dark with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching.
Up to 16,738 customers could lose their power as Edison International’s Southern California Edison grapples with the rising fire threat, according to the utility’s website. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued red flag fire warnings as Santa Ana winds pick up through Ventura and Los Angeles counties through Sunday.
“Today seems to be the worst day for those conditions,” said Zackary Taylor, a forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. “With humidity at 10 to 15% this afternoon, any fires that do develop could spread rapidly.”
Across California, 8,367 fires have burned nearly 3.1 million acres (1.3 million hectares) of state and federal land this year, easily outstripping the 5-year average of 5,581 fires charring 843,301 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. This year’s fires drove thousands from their homes and in the last two years are blamed for killing 20% of the world’s total population of giant sequoias.
The fire risk across Southern California is critical Sunday and is forecast to drop to “elevated” Monday, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center. The wind threat will likely die down later this week, but there is a chance Santa Ana winds could return on Thanksgiving, Taylor said.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.