|Above: Oregon firefighters deployed by ODF |
to the Thomas Fire put out a spot fire
threatening an avocado orchard.
|Above: Some 25 fire engines are deployed |
to the Thomas Fire from several ODF districts
and the Coos and Douglas Forest Protective Associations.
Prolonged Santa Ana winds have fanned the Thomas Fire since it began Dec.4, contributing to its rapid growth and extreme fire behavior. These winds originate as a high-pressure system over the Great Basin and upper Mojave Desert. The cool, dry air sweeps across the deserts of eastern California before funneling through mountain passes and canyons to the Pacific Ocean. Three things happen when Santa Ana winds are blowing: it gets warmer, wind speed increases and humidity plummets, all of which increase fire risk.