Thunderstorms bring increased chance of wildfires this week |

Thunderstorms bring increased chance of wildfires this week

Clouds pass south of Gardnerville on Friday afternoon. Expect more of the same this week.
Tim Berube/Special to The R-C

Forecast thunderstorms through the next week has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a fire weather watch from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday evening.

Thunderstorms are in the forecast over the next several days, but on Tuesday outflow winds of up to 50 mph near thunderstorms and low afternoon humidity could combine to created critical fire weather.

The watch could be upgraded to a red flag warning as Tuesday approaches.

“This is a classic fire weather pattern with lightning potentially creating new fires followed by thunderstorm outflows, gusty Zephyr winds and drier air resulting in fire spread,” forecasters said. “Be prepared for a busy period of new fires if the forecast pans out.”

Afternoon warming has seen increased thunderstorm activity over the past two days and that’s not going to change today and Monday.

Forecasters are predicting a slight chance of thunderstorms 3-7 p.m. today with short-lived cells popping up in Douglas County near the Pine Nut Mountains.

On Monday, there’s a greater chance of slow-moving thunderstorms that could bring heavy rain or hail.

Nevada public land agencies issued a campfire ban on Friday.

Restrictions prohibit all open flame campfires on state and federal lands, including developed campgrounds, day use and dispersed camp areas.

According to fire officials Nevada is experiencing record dry conditions with much of the state in severe drought.

“Due to the current fuel conditions, there is a high likelihood of a fire exhibiting extreme behavior and posing containment problems for firefighters,” officials said. “State and federal agencies have also experienced an increase in public land use and human-caused fires. To date there have been more human-caused fires across the state than what is normal…in an entire year.”