“We are seeing a dangerous combination of factors with this forecast. High winds, extremely low humidity, record dry fuels on the ground and severe drought,” said PG&E’s Lynsey Paulo.
The 2020 fire season has already proven devastating for the region, and meteorologists fear the windy, dry conditions will stoke the blazes already underway.
Earlier this month, PG&E shut off service to some customers to prevent equipment from igniting fires in harsh conditions.
The shut off affects customers across eight counties and will begin in stages starting at 10 a.m. Sunday. Power is expected to be switched back on Monday into Tuesday once the extreme weather passes.
Moving crews into place
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has increased staffing and has been coordinating with local fire agencies in pre-positioning fire resources in critical areas, according to a statement released by the agency on Saturday.
Cal Fire has asked residents in Red Flag areas to remain vigilant to prevent accidentally sparking a wildfire. Extremely dry, windy conditions with high gusts can damage trees and power lines and ignite fires in dry regions.
Heat waves and droughts in the West pose risk of wildfires
Drought, strong winds, dry vegetation and above average temperatures have persisted this fall in the West, elevating critical fire weather conditions across much of the region.
That blaze, near Grimes Peak in the Arapaho National Forest, has burned more than 190,000 acres and is only between 4% and 5% contained. Evacuations are continuing across Grand County.
Snow and cold temperatures moved into the Rockies and central Colorado late Saturday and will remain in the region Sunday, conditions that will help tamp down that blaze, meteorologists said.
There are currently 5,300 firefighters working to reach full containment on 21 wildfires in California, 12 of which are considered major incidents, according to a statement released by Cal Fire on Saturday.
CNN’s Claudia Dominguez contributed to this report.