Record-Breaking Drought Conditions Strengthen California Fires


Drought conditions are breaking records and making it very difficult for firefighters to tame the flames ravaging through the state. Weather systems slow down in the winter and cross the area slower than in the fall, leading to dry conditions. Some cities in southern California aren’t seeing, or haven’t seen, any rain since October.

Brandt Maxwell, a meteorologist from the National Weather Services, noted that storms usually hit the area during the month of December, but the ridge on the west coast is blocking the rain from getting there. The ridge can remain in place for weeks instead of days, which prolongs the dry conditions that are helping he wildfires run rampant.

Big Bear has not recorded any rainfall since the first of October. They’ve been a mere .03 inches of rain for the current season. This is second to 1929 when no rainfall whatsoever was recorded. The Los Angeles International Airport is another dry location, only recording .01 inches of rain for the season. Conditions haven’t been this dry at the airport since 1962. This is really nothing and is more of a foggy condition than rain. Rain needs to be an inch or two to really make a difference in the area.

Brush that is typically green in the month of December is brown and brittle, creating conditions ideal for fire. Fires in San Diego and Ventura counties have burned dozens of houses and nearly 200,000 acres of land. The fires have led to at least one death and numerous farm and domestic animal deaths.

The dry conditions are expected to continue throughout the month. Maxwell said that the next 10 to 14 days are predicted to remain dry, with potential for dry conditions to continue past December. It’s not looking very promising right now for the region as they need to get rain, and a lot of it, to even start to recover from the drought.