Fire watch issued for inland areas: Increased winds, low humidity prompt red flag warning

The National Weather Service has issued a rare winter fire watch for Humboldt County's inland areas, which is in effect through Friday.

"We have issued a red flag warning for elevations 2,500 feet and above," said Nancy Dean, meteorologist in charge for the Eureka weather service office. "The combination of the stronger easterly winds, lower humidity and the fact that it is dry, all contribute to the red flag warning."

Meteorologist Brian Garcia said the warning will not affect the coastal areas because they are relatively more "wet," but there is always some risk of fire, regardless of weather conditions. The area under watch ranges from the Oregon border to Santa Rosa.

Assistant Chief Hugh Scanlon of the Cal Fire Del Norte/Humboldt Unit said people should be very careful about outdoor fires and burning, especially in the very dry upper areas and along treelines.

"This is the time of year when some plants are dormant, creating live fuel moisture, and these areas burn faster because they are more receptive to burning," Scanlon said.

Dean said this is the second warning issued for this year.

"This is quite unusual for January, because January is one of the wetter months," she said.

Contact Melissa Simon at 707-441-0508 or msimon@times-standard.com

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