How weather affects fire behavior

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Flames erupt in dry conditions in Lake Riverside Estates in September. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Weather plays a significant part in the intensity and severity of wildland fires. Changes in humidity, wind and temperature can improve or delay containment efforts. Commonly referred to as fire weather, these conditions may spell disaster for firefighters. Nick Nauslar of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center described fire weather as, “Any sort of weather that ignites and/or helps spread fire. Stronger winds; low, relative humidity; unstable atmospheric conditions and thunderstorms, all fall under the umbrella of fire weather.” Lightning strikes are the most common weather cause for wildfires. Dry thunderstorms can create lightning strikes miles away from the storm clouds. Several of Anza’s recent fires have been started by lightning
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