Cooler, less windy weather helps firefighters contain state's wildfires

Published: Sunday, May. 5, 2013 - 2:03 pm
Last Modified: Monday, May. 6, 2013 - 8:10 pm

Cooler temperatures, high humidity and a slowdown in winds helped firefighters contain a half-dozen wildfires over the weekend, including one in Butte County.

But officials are still on alert for fires in the Sacramento Valley and surrounding foothills this week, according to the National Weather Service.

Robert Baruffaldi, a meteorologist with the NWS office in Sacramento, said dry fuels, low humidity and gusty north winds could make the region susceptible to fires being ignited.

A low-pressure system is forecast to linger in the area through at least the middle of the week, bringing some precipitation, mountain snow and fire concerns.

Baruffaldi predicted thunderstorms and rain showers for today, with some isolated lighting strikes outside the core of the storms. There's a slight chance of more thunderstorms and rain through Wednesday, both in the valley and mountains.

Several inches of snow could fall over the Sierra Nevada and Lassen Park peaks Monday and Tuesday, Baruffaldi said.

For now, however, the area is out of immediate danger of wildfire. The 72-acre Cedar Fire in Butte County was contained by Sunday morning, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman with the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

More than 4,000 firefighters were still battling fires in the southern part of the state, Berlant said. Gusty winds in Riverside County fanned a new fire, while three other fires were fully contained.

Cooler air and cloud cover will cause valley temperatures to fall to the 70s and low 80s early in the week, Baruffaldi said.

Warmer temperatures are expected in the valley Thursday through Saturday, as a high-pressure system moves in. Central Valley temperatures are forecast to reach the low 80s by Thursday, then continue a gradual climb to the upper 80s by next Saturday.

The 7-day forecast is as follows:

Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 79.

Monday: A 20-percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 74.

Monday night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11 p.m, then a slight chance of showers.

Tuesday: A 20-percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 74.

Tuesday night: A 20-percent chance of showers.

Wednesday: A 20-percent chance of showers before 11a.m. Partly sunny, with a high near 78.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 81.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 85.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 86.

Call The Bee's Anne Gonzales, (916) 321-1049. Follow her in Twitter @AnneGonzo.

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