Here's why Northern California skies are smoky
Sacramento fell three degrees short Saturday of breaking the all-time high temperature for the month of September, topping out at 107 degrees at Executive Airport, the National Weather Service reported.
The hot temperature combined with continuing Northern California wildfires produced a hot, smoky start to the Labor Day weekend.
A heat record was broken Saturday in Redding, with a high of 114 degrees, topping the previous mark of 112 degrees in 1988, said Cory Muller, meteorologist for the weather service in Sacramento. Stockton hit 109 degrees on Saturday, breaking the previous high mark set in 1950.
San Francisco, which reached an all-time high of 106 degrees on Friday, hit 102 on Saturday, the third time since 1874 the city has seen back-to-back triple digit days, according the weather service’s Bay Area office.
“The excessive heat warning will continue into (Sunday). It will be hot but not as hot as it was (Saturday),” said Muller, who said the high temperature should reach 105 degrees Sunday in Sacramento, followed by 95 degrees on Labor Day.
Hazy skies on Saturday accompanied the heat as a number of wildfires burned throughout the state.
The Ponderosa Fire, which started early Tuesday afternoon at Ponderosa Way and Lumpkin Road, east of Lake Oroville in Butte County, has burned 3,880 acres and was 51 percent contained by Saturday evening, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reports.
The fire has destroyed 32 homes, 14 outbuildings and threatens 1,300 additional buildings, Cal Fire reported Saturday evening.
The hot weather and steep, rugged terrain paired has made firefighting efforts challenging, according to Cal Fire. The fire is burning in a mix of grass, brush and timber litter that is extremely dry, officials said.
The Pleasant Fire, reported at 3:38 p.m. Wednesday burning off Highway 49 and Pleasant Valley, was 65 percent contained, with 392 acres burned as of Saturday evening, according to Cal Fire.
The heat and hazy skies have prompted the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District to issue a Spare the Air day for Sunday in the Sacramento region. The Air Quality Index is scheduled to reach 133 on Sunday, unhealthy for sensitive groups. A Spare The Air alert is issued when the AQI is forecast to be 126 or higher.
At 3 p.m. Saturday, the AQI reached 159 in the Elk Grove area, which is unhealthy, the district reported. Go to www.sparetheair.com for updated readings.