Critical fire weather forecast for Sunday

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Clouds are gathering across the pine nuts on Friday afternoon. A red flag warning is scheduled for Sunday along the Sierra Front.

The first critical fire danger red flag warning of 2022 was issued for western Nevada beginning at noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Forecasters predict southwesterly winds of 15 to 25 mph, with gusts of 30 to 40 mph along the Sierra Front from north of Douglas to the Nevada-Oregon state line.

Coupled with 10-15% humidity during the afternoon, the fires will be able to grow rapidly in size and intensity before they can be contained, forecasters said.

“Avoid outdoor activities that can cause a spark near dry vegetation, such as yard work, target shooting, or campfires,” officials warned.

The increased fire danger could prompt NV Energy to implement a public safety blackout in areas within and immediately adjacent to Lake Tahoe, including the area north of Genoa.

A new wildfire that has erupted in northeast Nevada could be indicative of the rest of this year’s fire season.

The Wildcat Fire burning in grass and brush 42 miles north of Wells grew nearly 18,000 acres to 21,423 acres in 24 hours, according to Saturday’s Incident Management Report. It was first reported at 6 p.m. Wednesday, likely started in the thunderstorm that hit that night.

Unlike the fire burning in Yosemite that has been sending smoke due north into the Carson Valley for more than a week, the Wildcat fire is already burning most of its fuel and is expected to be extinguished by July 24.

Fire officials report they have a line about a tenth of that and hope to contain it by July 24.

Meanwhile, the Washburn Fire is burning dead and fallen trees, including those toppled by the Mono wind event in January 2021. The same event toppled trees on the western slope, providing the tall trees that enabled the Caldor Fire to climb towards Lake Tahoe.

The Washburn Fire officially covers 4,822 acres and firefighters report a line of about 37%. Full containment is expected at the end of the month. Smoke from the fire receded significantly on Saturday afternoon in calm conditions.

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