La Nina, the cooling of the equatorial Pacific waters that creates volatile weather worldwide, has produced dryness for California and contributed to a record-setting year of wildfires in the state in 2020. This week, Red Flag Warnings have been posted in the Bay Area, an ominous warning of things to come, according to local news ABC7.
California’s top fire officials warn conditions are already ripe for wildfires – way ahead of schedule – and could quickly transpire into the worst wildfire season on record – even outpacing last year, where 9,639 fires burned 4,397,809 acres, more than 4% of the state’s 100 million acres of land.
“Every acre in California can and will burn someday,” said CAL FIRE Director Thom Porter. “I need not say here in the Bay Area how devastating it is when you’re hillsides are on fire, some of your communities are on fire, and you’re deep in smoke that looks like Armageddon for a week on end.”
New concerns come as La Nina continues to produce dryness for the state and other surrounding states. Droughts in California, Southwest states, and Texas are some of the worst on record.
The latest warning comes months after the worst wildfire season on record.
“Since it was such a monumental fire year last year, we saw 32 counties fall under a major presidential disaster declaration,” said CAL Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci.
With an extremely sparse rainy season and temperatures above 90 degrees, there’s concern this upcoming fire season could be pulled forward much earlier, with risks of the peak fire season in June.
“There are millions of dying trees and all of those pose hazards across California for all of us,” said Robert Baird, chief for the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region.
CALFIRE is already preparing for what could be a fiery year. The fire department is ramping up personnel and added five new helicopters.
If the 2021 fire season is anything like last year – then watch out; the gates of hell could be opening up this summer.
Would a more intense fire season drive out more Californians to live in other states?