The Santa Ana winds make fire management difficult because they are a hot, dry and fast offshore flow. These winds can travel consistently at speeds of over 100 mph, the same force as a category 2 hurricane. The Santa Anas actually form over the cool Mojave Desert and becomes hot and fast when pushed east and compressed. Any fire in their path becomes very easily spread and difficult to put out, particularly because the area is so dry. Winter rains may provide some relief (but cause an additional risk of landslides.)
The high winds that occur in California known as the “Santa Ana Winds” can be detrimental when a wildfire occurs. These winds are typically quite hot, dry, and move at very high speeds, and can aid in spreading a fire much more so than a normal burning fire. Many of the really terrible fires in the past in California have been exacerbated by the Santa Ana winds, making it very difficult for the firefighters to contain these fires. Also, since most of these wildfires tend to be in the dry brush areas, many acres can be burning rather quickly when being pushed forward by the high speed dry winds.
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