Winds to escalate fire danger to max |

Winds to escalate fire danger to max

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag fire watch for the western slope of the Sierra that will last through the weekend.

Strong northerly winds that boosted last weekend’s four blazes in North San Juan will start to diminish Saturday afternoon, though gusts are expected up to 35 mph, the weather service said from its Sacramento office. The warning will stay in effect Sunday because of the unusually dry conditions in the area.

“We’ll have similar conditions to last weekend,” said Harry Stockman of the weather service.

Stockman said high pressure is building inland, bringing winds off the ocean through the Bay Area and Delta to the Sierra. Surface pressure building over Oregon will force warm, dry winds down the slope of the Sierra to produce the fire watch conditions, Stockman said.

Highs today through Sunday will be in the upper 80s to lower 90s, with overnight lows dipping into the mid-60s, Stockton said. Temperatures will drop slightly next week but remain in the high 80s to the upper 50s at night.

“The wind dries things out and there’s not much humidity,” Stockman said. “The wind can also exacerbate the fire (once one has started).

For up-to-date information, log onto the National Weather Service Web site for the Sacramento area at

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