Weekend storms could be a mixed blessing for crews battling California’s largest wildfire Sunday.
As record-breaking, and potentially destructive, flames ripped across California’s wine country on Thursday, firefighters are bracing for the possibility of the worst fires of the summer season.
The winds forecast for Sunday could be a “hindrance” to efforts to contain the flames, according to Cal Fire.
“The worst case scenario would be very dangerous winds associated with a storm,” Los Angeles Fire Capt. Jeff Hall, commander of the local fire department’s main fire dispatch center, said in a statement. “These winds may force fire lines to break containment lines, making it more difficult to fight fires as the fire spreads.”
A severe weather outlook for Sunday shows a 70 percent chance of thunderstorms to develop from southern California to northern Arizona, with winds gusting up to 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service. The storm could be accompanied by scattered showers and thunderstorms, with isolated thunderstorms up to 2 inches across.
While firefighters on the front lines are worried about the winds, it could have minimal impact to crews on the back lines battling the flames and helping to protect the communities from the flames.
“As the fires continue to grow, they will get more intense and this might not be the worst, but it’s certainly going to be intense,” Hall said. “The wind is definitely going to be a hinderance, but we’ll do all we can to defend the line. In the end, we will protect all of the communities and the entire way up the Sierra foothills.”
Los Angeles firefighters have been battling a major wildfire burning through the hills of the city for nearly a week. They’ve been fighting the Thomas Fire, named for the Thomas Fire Lookout fire in downtown Los Angeles, since the flames first began igniting early July 4.
The fire is the largest in California’s history, and officials said at least 30 people have been killed, destroyed homes and businesses, and destroyed about 7,