New wildfires possible amid dry lightning, firefighters fear

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While the Caldor and Dixie wildfires are being contained, firefighters on Thursday voiced their concerns that new wildfires can be triggered by dry lightning, and can blow unpredictable winds that can fuel current blazes.

The National Weather Service has released a red flag warning for Northern California areas. Included in the Bay Area that was placed under the warning from Thursday, 5:00 p.m., through Friday, 11:00 a.m. were the North Bay mountains, East Bay hills and Mount Diablo area. The same warning was also released in northern San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Valley, and the coastal ranges.

Apart from these areas, the northern Sierra Nevada, southern Cascades and foothills, as well as the Dixie and Calfor fires affected areas were also covered. The warning was issued Thursday, 11:00 p.m., through Friday, 11:00 p.m., as the mix of gusty winds and lightning could further fan the fires.

“We aware of the possibility of changing weather conditions but it’s difficult to say what will happen,” according to Cal Fire spokesman, Robert Foxworthy. “But we are preparing.”

A lightning storm sparked over 600 fires in August last year. It left around 2 million acres in Northern California burned, including the 3, 000 structures. Seven people were also lost from the blazes.

But officials remain positive that the same incident cannot happen this year due to the changing weather.

“This is not anticipated to be a repeat of the August 2020 dry lightning event,” said the weather service through an email.

Firefighting efforts, meanwhile, continue against Caldor and Dixie fires while the crew prepares for lightning fires and gusty winds.

On Thursday, Caldor Fire was at 53 percent containment. The fire sparked last August 14 and has already crept into the town of Grizzly Flats and came towards Lake Tahoe before it was directed away from South Lake Tahoe. The said fire has already left 217, 946 acres burned, San Francisco Chronicle reported.

On the other hand, the now considered second largest fire in state history, the Dixie Fire, was at 59 percent containment as of Thursday. It has already affected the counties of Plumas, Tehama, Lassen and Shasta, with 927, 320 acres burned. Despite the containment progress, the fire still poses a threat to communities with Old Station in Shasta County evacuated on Wednesday evening.