Forecasters issue fire weather watch for Northern California starting Thursday

The National Weather Service has issued a fire weather watch across the Sacramento Valley due to dry conditions and strong north winds Thursday through Saturday.

The weather watch, issued Tuesday afternoon, will be in effect from 1 p.m. Thursday to 11 a.m. Saturday.

Low daytime humidity levels, increasing northerly winds and an abundance of wildland fuels at lower elevations prompted the watch for areas of the Sacramento Valley below 2,000 feet elevation.

“Weakening high pressure will be replaced with low pressure by the end of this week,” according to an NWS forecast discussion Wednesday. “This will result in a cooling trend into Friday. Increasing northerly wind and lower humidity will bring elevated fire weather concerns across portions of the Sacramento Valley Thursday into Saturday. Warmer temperatures return over the weekend as high pressure rebuilds.”

Areas of Solano, Yolo, Colusa, Glenn, Tehama, Shasta, Butte, Yuba, Sutter, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento and El Dorado are included in this watch, including Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

The area under the highest threat is expected to be along the western foothills – from Winters in the south to Redding in the north – due to the highest expected wind gusts, the alert said. North winds are expected be between 10 and 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph.

A similar watch was issued two weeks ago and elevated to a red flag warning on June 8 and 9. Red flag warnings are issued for imminent weather conditions that might result in extreme fire behavior that will occur within 24 hours.

During heightened fire danger, Cal Fire places additional firefighters on duty and staffs more fire engines, the website said.

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