A combination of dry conditions, high winds, and low humidity have helped to spark deadly wildfires across the state of California.  The state has seen its share of wildfires in the past decade, and the most recent outbreak is just another chapter.  As of late Wednesday, over a dozen fires remain active across the state, which have already burned more than 170,000 acres.

Flames threaten and engulf several buildings within Napa, CA on Monday October 9th (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The main contributor of the fires is a large region of high pressure over the Northern Pacific, which has helped to push drier air from Canada in the region.  With the high pressure in place, drier than normal conditions along with persistent winds created an ideal situation for wildfires.  All that was left was a few sparks, and the wildfires were off and running.

Firefighters have had an opportunity as of recent to control the fire, as winds decreased in strength, allowing a slight increase in moisture to suppress the fires.  The danger then increases as the high pressure moves on shore, pushing more dry air and gusty into the end of the week. Red flag warnings and fire weather watches have been issues across northern and southern California.

A satellite photo from GOES-16 shows the radiation or temperature measured from space. The black dots show the hottest spots where the largest fires continue to burn.



About Kevin Thiel

Kevin is a Meteorology Major and Mathematics Minor at Ohio University, with an interest for thunderstorm electrification and research. On campus, he serves as President of the AMS Student Chapter, along with Webmaster and Forecaster for the campus atmospheric lab. This past summer, Kevin interned at the National Weather Service office in Miami, Florida, using lightning and radar data to study severe thunderstorm potential. One day, Kevin hopes to enter into field of academia and research, or become a forecaster with the Storm Prediction Center.