Fire Warnings
Fire warnings were issued in some parts of California Monday in preparation for high winds and extreme temperatures. Google Maps

Fire warnings were ramped up in California Monday as conditions in the state became ideal once again for widespread fires. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for parts of the state, cautioning residents that “critical fire weather conditions” were either already in effect or would be soon.

The National Weather Service warned of strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures enabling “extreme fire behavior” in the coming hours and days. Temperatures were expected to reach the triple digits in Southern California Monday, forecasters said. Conditions were likely to remain critical until Tuesday night.

“The duration, strength and widespread nature of this Santa Ana wind event combined with extreme heat will bring dangerous fire weather conditions to southwest California through Tuesday,” the National Weather Service said in its warning.

The state is still reeling from this month’s “fire siege,” which saw more than 30 major wildfires, some of which are still burning. Numerous fires left more than 40 people dead, 250,000 acres of land burned through and more than 8,000 structures destroyed.

“This is traditionally the time of year when we see these strong Santa Ana winds,” said Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott, according to the Los Angeles Times. “And with an increased risk for wildfires, our firefighters are ready. Not only do we have state, federal and local fire resources, but we have additional military aircraft on the ready. Firefighters from other states, as well as Australia, are here and ready to help in case a new wildfire ignites.”

Santa Ana winds help to spread wildfires rapidly, while low humidity dries out vegetation, effectively transforming it into tinder. Winds in Southern California could top 50 mph, Cal Fire said Monday. Similarly high winds were responsible in large part for the rapid spread of fires earlier this month.

“Any new fire can really spread very quickly,” said Cal Fire spokesperson Heather Williams, according to the New York Times.

CA Fire
An aerial view of properties destroyed by the Tubbs Fire is seen in Santa Rosa, California. Stephen Lam/REUTERS