California wildfire threat is “extreme,” west coast is warmer and drier

The threat level for wildfire season for California is now “extreme.”

CAL Fire says that the northern part of the state is one “wind event” away from a catastrophic fire, and every year has the potential to be devastating.

The danger is amplified by two dry years. The forests are dying and temperatures across the west are expected to be above normal for much of the summer. Last year’s wildfire season was the worst on record for California, with more than four million acres burned.

According to the latest drought monitor, the “Golden State” is still in extreme to exceptional drought. Precipitation, statewide, has been below normal with southern California and the greater Bay Area experiencing record dryness.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association released an update this month, showing the west coast is getting warmer and drier. Meteorologist Marilyn Lohmann says that an increase is evident when looking at the summertime numbers for the inland northwest.

“Big temperature change for July, where both the high and low temperature warmed up by almost a degree,” she explains. “That doesn’t sound like a lot, but in weather terms, that is a bit warmer temperature... and then precipitation, we kind of see the driest month shifting from August back into July.”

The number of triple-digit highs increased for the northeast as well.


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