Heat risk
Weather

Holiday weekend heat: Enhanced fire risk as mountains expected to hit mid-90s; wind projections low

Mountain residents will have a hot Memorial day with highs in the mid-90s, while coastal communities will stay cool thanks to mild onshore breezes. Though this heatwave will be short and mild, it’s a reminder of the hotter, windier weather that is likely to occur in late summer.

Memorial day is shaping up to be a hot one for Santa Cruz Mountains communities. The National Weather Service announced earlier this week that the inland regions of the county could heat up into the high 80s to mid-90s on Memorial Day, though weekend highs are expected to hover in the low- to mid-70s.

City folk will likely see an influx of Bay Area out-of-towners looking to escape the heat on their long weekend, while mountain residents can expect warmer than usual temperatures beginning Sunday afternoon and lasting through Tuesday, according to NWS meteorologist Ryan Walbrun. He says the coastal communities and Watsonville will likely stay relatively cool with daytime highs in the 70s.

There are currently no projected onshore or offshore wind fronts accompanying this minor heatwave, adds Walbrun, which is good news for wildfire watchers.

“Cooling trend should begin Wednesday into Thursday as the ridge breaks down, but conditions will still be warm and dry with highs near to above normal,” NWS forecasters wrote.

While this heatwave is expected to be short and mild, it’s a reminder of the more intense weather we could see later this summer, when fire safety measures, such as careful campfire etiquette and vegetation removal are most important. “As we enter fire season in drought conditions, we encourage folks to follow advice from their local fire agencies to avoid accidental fire starts during this holiday weekend,” forecasters wrote.

Indeed, in response to the rising temperatures of early summer, Cal Fire announced earlier this month that burn piles — a method for removing dead vegetation from your property — and other fire-related activity are banned until the next rainy season. To learn more about wildfire preparedness and how to stay in the know about weather, fire alerts, and power outages during the dry season, checkout our new Wildfire Resource Center.

Watch a forecast briefing from the National Weather Service below: