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Record Dry Weather Elevates Explosive Fire Danger

 
Record Dry Weather Elevates Explosive Fire Danger
Posted January 21st, 2014 @ 6:55pm by KFBK News - Joe Orlando

A dubious distinction for the Sacramento region Tuesday: officially 45 days without rain this winter, setting a new weather record.  This beats the previous record set in 1976.  Wednesday will tie the all-time record of 46 days, set in 1884, according to the National Weather Service.

Sacramento also set a new record high downtown Tuesday where it hit 70 degrees.  The unseasonable warm, dry weather has been caused by a high-pressure system hovering over California.

Since there's no rain in sight for at least a week, conditions are ideal for explosive fires throughout the state.

"So that's a good word for the day, 'explosive," Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said. "We have seen a significant increase, already in the past couple of weeks in wildfires, and it's crazy because the calendar still says January."

Berlant says the combination of cold weather at night, and dry warm days just adds to the possibility of unprecedented winter wildfires.

"The humidity starts to go down, you add these extremely dry conditions, and then we add a little bit of wind. That combination allowing the fire danger to be very elevated," Berlant said.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has responded to 150 wildfires so far.

During the same period last year there were none, and the historic average is 25.

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