Light Rain Aids Containment of Massive Springs Fire
May 07, 2013; 8:09 AM
The massive Springs Fire continues to rage in Ventura County, Calif., but the weather has turned in the favor of the firefighters.
Cooler air and higher humidity returned over the weekend, following 90-degree warmth and unusually strong Santa Ana winds that allowed the fire to grow late last week.
Light rain arrived early Monday morning, bringing much-needed moisture.
The Springs Fire is now 80 percent contained, according to the Ventura County Fire Department at 6:30 a.m. PDT Monday. The blaze has charred 28,000 acres and destroyed 25 outbuildings while damaging 15 residences.
This cooler pattern will allow firefighters to continue to make progress. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the blaze could be fully contained as early as Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
As a low pressure continues to spin off the California coast, the cool marine air will continue to slide inland from the coast.
This rise in humidity and moisture will help vegetation to trend away from the dry side.
Wildfires burn close to homes in Point Mugu, Calif., Friday, May 3, 2013. A huge wildfire carved a path to the sea and burned on the beach on Friday, but firefighters got a break as gusty winds turned into breezes. Temperatures remained high, but humidity levels were expected to soar as cool air moved in from the ocean and the Santa Ana winds retreated. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
According to AccuWeather Western Forecasting Expert Ken Clark, the vegetation has been so dry that it is more like the middle of summer, rather than spring.
According to FEMA's U.S. Fire Administration, last year there were 67,774 fires, the smallest number since 2005. However, 2012 also had the highest acreage burned since 2007.
Smoke from the Springs Fire can be seen in this image captured by MODIS aboard NASA's Terra satellite on May 2, 2013. According to NASA, "The red 'hotspot' marks areas where MODIS's thermal bands detected high heat which were caused, in this case, by actively burning fire.