Posted: Jul 16, 2012 8:43 PM by Dave Hovde
Updated: Jul 17, 2012 8:12 AM
I have seen a lot of fire weather conditions over the years and the conditions today at the beginning of the Calf Fire were among the more benign. Air temperatures were cool, dew points showed some moisture in the air and despite some wind gusts the peak gusts were under 20 (until the fire got going and created some of its own winds).
However many of us have watched that area carefully over the years due to the dry brush and especially so after a dry winter with only 60% of normal rain. Fire crews on the scene called it a primarily fuels driven fire.
As for the fire weather forecast, clouds have pushed into some of the valleys thanks to a generously deep marine layer, 2500ft. There is also a upper low spinning south which may actually help cause some localized drizzle near the coast, but can't be ruled out in the hills either overnight into early Tuesday, again a fairly positive forecast in terms of a daily perspective.
Temperatures Tuesday will again be cool, in the 60s near the coast and 70s inland. Only slow warming on Wednesday. Later Wednesday into Friday some leftovers from a Pacific tropical system could introduce another slight thunderstorm chance into the forecast, it is low, however due to the brush conditions across the state not just the rain has to be considered but also the possibility of lightning induced fires. We will watch that carefully, the latest run shows at least some of that system could get here in a much weakened state.
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