Weather

Northern California sprinkles not enough to quench fires

Light rains fell on the north Bay Area and Mendocino County on Thursday night, but weren’t enough to extinguish what’s left of Northern California wildfires.

While showers of a quarter-inch to three-quarters of an inch put out some hot spots and embers within the fire perimeter, Daniel Berlant, Cal Fire assistant deputy director, said they weren’t strong enough to cut the blazes down completely. Temperatures will rise back to the mid-to-high 80s in Santa Rosa, Napa, inland Mendocino County and the Sacramento Valley by Monday, and no significant rain is forecast for the next week.

The Tubbs Fire has destroyed an estimated 5,300 structures, nearly twice as many as other wildfire in California history. Three other recent blazes ranked among the Top 20 – the Nuns Fire (sixth), the Atlas Fire (10th) and the Redwood Valley Fire (16th), which have burned a combined 2,481 buildings.

“Rain is a good thing, and we’re very thankful even if it’s just a just small amount because it’s definitely helping efforts. But it’s not enough to put the fires out,” Berlant said. “(Fire risk) is going to remain elevated until we get good, wetting rains for an extended period of time, not just overnight.”

Each of the six remaining major fires is at least 80 percent contained.

Here is the latest figures, as reported Friday morning by Cal Fire:

▪ Atlas Fire (Napa, Solano counties): 51,624 acres, 87 percent contained.

▪ Nuns Fire (Sonoma County): 54,382 acres burned, 85 percent contained.

▪ Tubbs Fire (Napa, Sonoma counties): 36,432 acres, 93 percent contained.

▪ Redwood Valley Fire (Mendocino County): 36,523 acres, 90 percent contained.

Berlant said the Nuns, Atlas, Tubbs and Pocket Fires should be out by early next week, while crews will likely continue bulldozing ditches and toppling trees around the Redwood Valley Fire in rural Mendocino County until the end of October.

The Sierra region received a light dusting of snow Thursday night as well, with 5 inches dropping on Ebbets Pass and four inches falling in Squaw Valley. National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Shoemaker said cameras showed about two to three inches at Donner Pass, though no official estimate has been recorded.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel

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