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May-08-2009 13:40TweetFollow @OregonNews
Jesusita Fire Near Santa Barbara Only 10% Contained (VIDEO)Tim King Salem-News.com
Experts say dry conditions will elevate California's fire risk for 20 Years.
(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) - AccuWeather's Expert Meteorologist Joe Bastardi says Southern California's extremely dry conditions are going to have an ongoing impact in terms of fire safety. In fact, he says residents will continue to see fire-related problems because of this for at least the next 20 years.
The drought hasn't been good news for crews battling the Jesusita Fire north of Santa Barbara, The Pacific Ocean is cooling, and that means the weather pattern is changing and the result will be areas of the Southwest remaining dry.
The Jesusita Fire is burning northwest of Mission Canyon and Santa Barbara City in the Los Padres National Forest. The fire has scorched more than 3,500 acres so far.
Fire officials in California say it is presently 10% contained.
Interestingly, Bastardi pointed out that wetter conditions are expected in the region this coming winter as an El Niño develops.
The effects of the El Niño he says, would only be temporary, whereas the long-term, expected drying pattern is expected to last for at least the next couple of decades.
AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, said that while El Niño patterns will occasionally develop and bring needed rainfall to southern California and the Southwest, "these episodes will be brief and may not refurbish the natural order of ground moisture needed to sustain vegetation."
He says that if you throw in the heavy population that already exists, there can be serious water shortages.
The Jesusita Fire according to Sosnowski, is just a symptom of the overall issue of the dry weather pattern that has occurred this winter.
"The La Niña this year has resulted in a dry weather pattern across southern California. The brief rains that hit southern California during the winter caused vegetation to grow, leading to the increase fire danger."
He says the other aspect of the fire has been the late day winds called "Sun Downers". These are known to fan the fires even more.
Experts at Accuweather.com say the coming days will see a gradual reduction in winds and even if it doesn't happen fast enough, it will be a welcome change for firefighters.
This is footage from YouNews reporter swanny338 on May 8, 2009 of the Jesusita Fire near Santa Barbara, California:
In this clip, the Jesusita Fire Emergency Santa Barbara in West Goleta is shown by Youtube user SBARTSTV:
This is another clip from Thursday's press conference in California with the state's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who was briefed on the Jesusita Fire. Yesterday, the Governor declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County due to the Jesusita Fire. This video is posted by the California Governor's Office
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
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