Autumn showers on the way |

Autumn showers on the way

Dave Moller
Senior Staff Writer

The beginning of the end of a long, dry, fire season could start next week with the forecast of strong fall rains and cooler weather for western Nevada County.

A front arriving Monday from the Gulf of Alaska is likely to cause precipitation starting Tuesday that will last into Wednesday at least, the National Weather Service in Sacramento said Thursday.

“The models show a wet storm coming in,” Tahoe National Forest Fuels Manager Gary Fildes said. The rains coming in may be strong and foreshadow the end of the fire season, “but we’ll see.”

The National Weather Service is predicting 3 to 7 inches of rain possible in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Snow levels are expected to drop 7,000 to 8,000 feet on Tuesday and then down to 6,000 to 7,000 feet on Wednesday.

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Still, fire danger remains high until consecutive fall rains arrive, Fildes said.

Dry and windy conditions fueled the Yuba Fire just over the Nevada County line this summer, which burned almost 4,000 acres. Similar conditions also caused the 49 Fire in north Auburn, which consumed 66 structures.

Burning restrictions remain in effect on the forest and in the unincorporated areas of Nevada County, according to Joanne Drummond, executive director at the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County.

“We need sufficient moisture to end the fire season,” Drummond said. “I don’t think we’re really out of the woods.”

If the storm splits around the county and an inch or less of precipitation results, as can occur here, “It may not help as much.”

The current high temperatures in the mid- to lower 70s will continue through Sunday, with night lows in the mid-40s. Those highs are expected to drop into the mid- to upper 60s Monday through Wednesday, with night lows remaining in the mid-40s as the front passes through.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 477-4237.

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