WEATHER BLOG: Latest on California fires

Posted at 10:11 AM, Oct 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-12 11:11:06-04

Napa is one of my favorite places in the United States to visit. With it's vast countryside of rolling hills and lush vegetation, it is as picturesque as they come - and unfortunately perfect fuel for the devastating wildfires that have now taken at least 23 lives and leave hundreds missing. 


According to the director of California Dept of Forestry, Ken Pimlott, the fires started late Sunday night as winds were gusting to near hurricane strength in Sonoma County. Gusts were being recorded near 79 mph. 


On top of that, California saw record rainfall in Spring 2017, which sparked new growth, but then faced a very dry summer which means all that new growth (on top of what was already there) just turned into more fuel for this fire to spread. Pimlott also said that the fire started after 10pm. Because of this time, it took firefighters a little longer to get to the flames, and at that point they had already begun to spread rapidly with the sustained 50 mph winds. 


At this point at least 122,000 acres have burned and with red flag warnings remaining in effect through Thursday and no rain in the forecast for the next 5-7 days this will continue to be a battle for firefighters to tame. 


At this point even San Francisco Airport has cancelled or delayed flights due to heavy smoke and NASA is able to capture images of the smoke from above. 


To date, this is the second deadliest fire in California history. It is just behind the Oakland Hills fire in 1991 which killed 25 people.