115 degrees: Heat warning issued
Senior Staff Writer
Excessive summer heat and drifting wildfire smoke predicted for today and Wednesday have weather officials urging Nevada County residents to drink plenty of water and stay inside with air conditioning.
The National Weather Service in Sacramento issued the heat warning today after predicting temperatures up to 115 in the Sacramento Valley on Wednesday and highs pushing 100 in the northern Sierra foothills.
Temperatures Wednesday night are predicted in the upper 70s to low 80s. Daytime high temperatures are expected to cool a slight bit beginning Friday but remain in the 90s through the weekend.
Meanwhile, 323 fires continue to scorch nearly 631,000 acres in California, though enough have been contained that the number people working on them has declined from more than 21,000 over the weekend to more than 18,000 today, officials from the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
Winds that picked up Monday night promptd red flag warnings along the Coastal Range from San Benito County to the Oregon border; the warnings remain in effect through Wednesday evening.
The weather system could push excess smoke out of the area, but could also bring smoke into the county from existing blazes. The high-pressure system also will heighten fire conditions, which could produce more blazes or fan existing ones.
The ozone level could easily spike tonight and Wednesday night, and combined with wildfire smoke, would produce unhealthy air for all.
Ozone quality from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday night was unhealthy for sensitive individuals, according to the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District in Grass Valley. Those people include pregnant women, people with heart or lung conditions, children, the elderly and athletes.
The cause of the troubling weather is a high pressure system setting up over the entire West, said Mike Smith, a meteorologist with the weather service in Sacramento.
“In addition to the very warm temperatures we’re getting, we’ll also be getting a little bit of offshore wind… which keeps the moist marine air from coming inland,” Smith said.
The American River Complex blazes in Placer County near Blue Canyon were expected to get more firefighters and equipment after continuing to spread Monday and Tuesday, according to the Tahoe National Forest.
The 6,100-acre Government Springs Fire remains at 10-percent contained, and the 2,300-acre Westville Fire remains at 15-percent handled. Helicopters and air tankers dropped 61,000 gallons of fire retardant on those fires to stop them from spreading toward Interstate 80.
Residents of that area are being asked to not interfere with helicopter operations at the Blue Canyon Airport, forestry officials said. Information about the American River Complex can be obtained at the entrance to the airport and at the Shell Station on Interstate 80 at Nyack.
Smoke from those fires has been drifting into Nevada County for days and may continue, depending on shifting winds.
Officials expect to contain the Government Springs Fire by the end of July.
For more on regional fires, see Wednesday’s edition of The Union.
To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4237.
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