Red flag warning in Central Valley, with high winds and temperatures in the 90s today.
The National Weather Service has issued its second red flag warning of 2022, months before wildfire season typically begins for the area. The service issued a warning Wednesday for a majority part of the Central Valley from Redding to Modesto, saying strong winds and dry conditions coming in for the week will significantly increase the risk of wildfire. The warning takes effect in the late morning Thursday and is expected to continue until Friday late evening. Winds are expected to taper off by Saturday.
The first warning of the year came in early April - with drying conditions worsening in the state, green fields have been turning to brown as grasses dry out, creating more risk area for fires to break out than ever before. Grass fires will have the highest chance to spread quickly in conditions with north winds if fires do break out. Scientists and policymakers cite climate change and California’s punishing drought conditions as the catalyst for elevated risks and expanding the wildfire season calendar far beyond the normal range. Already 1,734 fires have affected California this year, although small in size according to Cal Fire. Last year, the state lost nearly 2.6 million acres to wildfires, and in 2020 wildfires consumed 4.3 million acres — the most on record in state history.
The weather service reports that wind gusts starting Thursday will hit up to 45 mph, intensifying fire risk. The high temperatures Thursday in Sacramento will be 92 degrees, cooling down to a high of 87 on Friday.