As weather conditions go, it was a perfect storm.
According to David Stark, National Weather Service meteorologist, an unfortunate set of conditions rare to the area collided to spark Monday’s raging conflagration.
“Things came together at the wrong time,” he said.
Recent months have been very dry, Stark said, without any significant accumulation of rainfall or snow. Therefore, he said, the ground was dry. “And on top of that, we had strong winds,” on Monday, with gusts from 40 to 45 miles per hour.
Dry ground, high winds, and a very low relative humidities, from 15 to 20 percent, meant that Monday’s fire spread quickly.
But by Monday evening, Stark said, winds subsided to approximately 10 miles per hour.
Humidity is expected to rise Monday night as temperatures drop to the lower 40s. On Tuesday, temperatures are expected to warm again, reaching the low 60s, with relative humidity values dropping again, to around 30 percent, not as far as they dropped on Monday.
Winds also are only expected to reach 25 to 35 miles per hour on Tuesday.
“They will be nowhere near as strong as they were today,” Stark said Monday night.
Still, he added, with the ground still dry, and only a very small possibility of a shower, fires could continue to spread rapidly, but not as significantly, as with Monday afternoon’s high winds.
But while a red flag warning was in effect on Monday, that warning for Tuesday has been reduced to a fire weather watch.
Looking ahead to Wednesday, conditions are expected to improve, Stark said, with temperatures in the mid 50s with increased cloud cover, less sunshine, and a chance of rain, “Wednesday looks like a better day overall,” Stark said.