Residents in the Sacramento region are feeling the relief of a marine layer pushing through the Delta and cooling the valley today, but firefighters to the north are battling to stay ahead of blazes burning southeast of Redding and in the Plumas National Forest.
The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning in the north state fire areas involving the Ponderosa fire 25 miles southeast of Redding and the fire burning in Plumas National Forest. The NWS is forecasting winds of between 10 mph to 20 mph, gusting to 35 mph, from noon to 10 p.m. for the northeast mountains of interior California, east of the Northern Sacramento Valley.
Humidity will be low, just 13 percent, said Kathy Hoxsie, forecaster for NWS.
High temperatures today for the Sacramento region should be in the low- to mid 80s, said forecaster Karl Swanberg of the NWS in Sacramento. The forecast today for downtown Sacramento is 84 degrees. Overnight lows will cool to the upper 50s.
Warming is expected to return Monday, bringing highs in the low 90s through Tuesday and ranging from the low- to mid-90s through Saturday.
Overnight lows for the coming week will remain in the mid-50s to around 60, Swanberg said. Winds today in the Sacramento Valley are from the southwest and are forecast at 10 mph to 15 mph.
Much of the concern over wind today and this week will be in the fire areas.
The Ponderosa fire southeast of Redding remained at 74 percent containment this morning and was still on track for full containment on Monday.
"We're watching the winds closely," said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "We are expecting to see some gusty winds for the next two days. The fact that the fire hasn't grown in 24 hours is a good sign."
But Berlant added that the wind "has a lot of potential to spread this fire or to allow it to spot over the perimeter line." He said firefighters are hopeful that the lines will hold.
Since the fire in Tehama and Shasta counties was ignited by a lightning strike Aug. 18, it has burned more than 43 square miles, destroyed 64 homes and burned 20 outbuildings. More than 300 homes remain threatened.
In the Plumas National Forest, the fire has burned longer.
That blaze has scored more than 100 square miles since it began burning July 29. It is 61 percent contained, with full containment forecast for Friday.
"We want to be more aggressive, especially with the increased winds tomorrow and maybe into Tuesday," said spokesman Larry Helmerick of the Incident Management Team for the Plumas National Forest fire area.