Rain or no rain — wildfire a continuing threat

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On Thursday, Aug. 3, dark clouds appeared, but the storm never got here. Instead, here it is approaching Mount Palomar.
Photo by Peter Szabadi

“… [L]arge fire potential will likely remain above normal across Southern California well into November,” was the conclusion of the latest “National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook” from the Predictive Services unit at the National Interagency Fire Center.

Despite the very wet winter, the high pressures during the past month have returned very warm and very dry conditions to the West, particularly Southern California.

“Fuels are at near record levels for fire danger,” said Brian Henry in his report from the NIFC.

The Riverside Predictive Services group reported that June and July temperatures were about 4 to 6 degrees higher than normal and precipitation has been below normal.

During July, Pine Cove reported a trace of rain and the U.S. Forest Service’s Keenwild Ranger Station recorded just 0.1 inch of rain since July 1. Pine Cove has reported just slightly more — 0.2 inches. The long-term average July rainfall has been 0.7 inches.

Higher than normal temperatures are expected through August and September accompanied by below normal rainfall.

While some meteorological models indicate a El Niño may develop this winter, most models remain neutral on the winter weather patterns.

The conclusion is “above normal large fire potential will be possible overmuch of the area prone to offshore winds well into the fall, and possibly the early winter.”

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