Bushfire risk critical in southern California as dry winds blow

20 October 2019

Published by https://www.smh.com.au/

USA – A dry, windy weekend has raised the wildfire threat across Southern California, including a patch of Santa Barbara County where the risk is critical.

Winds gusting up to 112 kmh along with crackling dry air will persist through late Sunday, raising the chance that trees and power lines get knocked down and “likely rapid growth of any new fire that starts,” the National Weather Service said in a warning.

“Strong winds and low relative humidity – that is the perfect combination for enhancing the wildfire danger,” Andrew Orrison, a forecaster with the US Weather Prediction Centre in College Park, Maryland, said by telephone. “Once we get through the end of this weekend the fire danger will come down a little bit.”

Wildfires are a rising hazard across California and have caused problems for the state’s electrical utilities. Two years of blazes helped push PG&E Corp., the state’s biggest utility owner, into bankruptcy after its equipment was identified as the cause of raging blazes that included the Camp Fire in November 2018 that killed 86 people and destroyed an entire town.

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