Wildland Fires: Conditions and Characteristics
Conditions favorable to wildland fires
The conditions that increase the likelihood of a wildland fire are:
- Season: The hazard intensifies in summer/fall. While wildfires can occur year-round in southern California, the wildland fire season for the region is usually defined as July to November.
- High winds: Wildland fires pose the greatest threat to the San Diego region during Santa Ana conditions when high winds can rapidly drive fire across broad areas, creating flash-point conditions.
- Low humidity: Dry, drought conditions
- Availability of fuels: Despite the 2007 firestorm, unburnt vegetation is at a record high.
Despite its proximity to the coast, Carlsbad can experience the same fire hazard conditions as east San Diego county.
Characteristics of wildland fires
- Extensive size
- Rapid spread
- Unexpected changes in direction (although topography shapes the fire's path)
- Ability to jump gaps, such as roads, rivers and fire breaks
- Significant negative impact on air quality (resulting from smoke and ash)