Weekend storms could be a mixed blessing for crews battling California’s largest wildfire, the Kincade Fire.
As the fire continues to rage on, it is still on pace to become the state’s deadliest.
The fire is the result of a combination of powerful winds that brought heavy, wet rain and a dry fuel load, and several lightning strikes in recent days. The heavy rains have prevented firefighters from getting to more remote, high-risk areas, making the fight that much more difficult.
The wind is expected to die down, which could allow crews to reach more remote areas earlier and more efficiently.
The fire burned more than 200,000 acres on Friday, and will likely add another 100,000 acres by the weekend, said Cal Fire in a news release.
“This latest round of extreme fire weather is a significant setback to California firefighters working to contain the Kincade Fire—an effort which is currently underway. The intense weather conditions and the limited access to remote areas has forced a decrease in the overall area being contained by the Kincade Fire, as well as a decrease in the use of advanced air tankers,” Cal Fire said. “The continued intensity of the Kincade Fire is a sobering reminder that climate change continues to impact the West.”
Related: The most deadly wildfires in the country
“With each new round of severe storms, the potential for deadly fire behavior is greater,” said Cal Fire spokesperson Daniel Berlant. “So far, we are seeing the early-season fires across California and the Southwest in general become more dangerous and costly to fight.”
Here are five things to know about the Kincade Fire:
1. It is the largest fire in California history
The Kincade Fire started on Dec. 15, and has burned more than 200,000 acres since then. It broke out in the Mendocino County town of Lake Mary, and firefighters are now tasked with containment of the fire, which has grown to more than 2,000 acres.
This is a huge amount of acreage