High heat to clash with dry, windy conditions as Northern California wildfires rage

California’s fire season began this week with a ferocious start in some Northern California counties as crews contend with dry, windy conditions causing favorable fire conditions ahead of a punishing temperatures scheduled to smother the state this weekend.

The largest conflagration in Northern California — which is poised to grow larger than a LA County fire become the largest wildfire statewide — held steady at 5% containment through two days of firefighters battling the Sites Fire, according to Cal Fire. With 15,656 acres charred in Colusa County, conditions on Wednesday didn’t appear to help crews gain the upper hand.

Temperatures will rise Wednesday along with more humidity, said Mike Steven, a meteorologist with Cal Fire, at a briefing for the Sites Fire. But the rise in moisture is not enough to impact “the probability of ignition, which is still up around 100%,” said Jonathan Pangborn, a fire behavioral analyst with Cal Fire.

“(There are) light flashy fuels, a very receptive fuel bed — it wants to move,” Pangborn said during a Wednesday briefing of the Sites Fire, a vegetation fire that began Monday near Sites Lodoga Road in Lodoga, a census-designated area in Colusa County with about 200 residents.

The Colusa County Sheriff’s Office ordered residents along these road to evacuate:

  • Leesville Lodoga Road to Leesville

  • Leesville to Huffmaster Road

  • Huffmaster Road to Sites

  • Leesville Road to Antelope Valley Ranch and North from Antelope Valley Ranch

  • Sites Lodoga Road at Sites — “hard road closure” in place

In other Northern California regions, crews continued to make progress to tamp blazes as meterologists forecast high temperatures for the upcoming weekend.

A heat advisory as been implemented by the National Weather Service station in Sacramento from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Temperatures are expected to range from 100 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit in Sacramento. The overnight lows will hover between 60 to 70 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Firefighters established “control lines” around the entire Point Fire, burning through Sonoma County. The 1,207-acre fire was 50% contained, according to Cal Fire. Ten structures were destroyed, with a firefighter who suffered injuries.

Authorities lifted evacuation warnings in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties on Wednesday for the Aero Fire. It decimated 5,351 acres and has been 33% contained.

Firefighters will continue to monitor the active fire areas which features more than 3,600 structures facing a threat of ignition, Cal Fire said. The relative increase in humidity overnight helped crews to contain the blaze, according to a Cal Fire incident report.

Two men were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of stealing mail from residents living in homes that were under evacuation orders under the Aero Fire, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies, patrolling Kiva Place and Little John Road in Copperopolis, stopped a “suspicious” vehicle and questioned the occupants. The two brothers, both from Stockton, gave “suspicious” reasons for their presence in the area, deputies said.

A search of their vehicle uncovered mail from Copperopolis homes, methamphetamine and burglary tools, deputies said.

Both brothers were arrested and face charges conspiracy to commit a crime, entering a disaster area and mail theft.

The cause behind each fire is under investigation.