Wednesday, September 26 , 2018, 12:06 am | Partly Cloudy 60º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Firefighters on Sherpa Fire Get a Bit of Help From Weather Forecast

Winds Friday likely to remain below advisory levels, but more gusty conditions — and heat — on the way

Smoke boils up Thursday afternoon from the Sherpa Fire burning along the Gaviota Coast. Afternoon and evening winds that have fanned the blaze are expected to subside somewhat, but return Saturday, along with higher temperatures.
Smoke boils up Thursday afternoon from the Sherpa Fire burning along the Gaviota Coast. Afternoon and evening winds that have fanned the blaze are expected to subside somewhat, but return Saturday, along with higher temperatures. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for the latest fire information]

Firefighters battling the Sherpa Fire raging along the Gaviota Coast may get a slight break from the weather on Friday, as forecasters were calling for somewhat diminished afternoon and evening winds.

But the outlook for the next few days, weather-wise, remains rather troubling.

“We are expecting it to be less windy tonight, which should help in the firefighting efforts,” said John Dumas, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “But obviously the heat coming this weekend will add to drying things out.”

The heat Dumas referred to is daytime highs in the 90s expected on Sunday and Monday, followed by several more days of above-normal temperatures.

On Thursday night, when the Sherpa Fire swelled to 4,000 acres charred, gusts of 45 mph were recorded, Dumas said.

On Friday night, the winds likely will stay below the 35-mph level that typically leads to a Wind Advisory, he said.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the winds are expected to pick up again on Saturday afternoon and evening, he said.

Beyond the blustery conditions, the impending heat presents a challenge to the army of personnel on the fire lines, which included more than 1,230 people as of Friday morning.

Heat and dehydration can be as dangerous as flames and smoke for wildland firefighters.

The coming heat wave is related to a large high-pressure system near Texas that is drifting westward toward Arizona.

Daytime highs were expected in the mid- to upper-70s Friday and Saturday, shooting into the 90s on Sunday and Monday, then slowing cooling late next week.

Overnight lows should be relatively warm, around 60 degrees.

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[Click here for the latest forecast]

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Hot Shot firefighting crews await assignment for the Sherpa Fire Friday morning. Click to view larger
Hot Shot firefighting crews await assignment for the Sherpa Fire Friday morning. (Urban Hikers photo)

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