Brush fire breaks out at Coachella music festival
Sunday, April 15, 2018, 1:00 PM - Shortly after Beyoncé set the Coachella stage figuratively on fire, authorities were called to put out a real one just six miles from the annual music festival.
Dry vegetation helped fuel the fire, which was first reported around 4:30 a.m. Sunday near the 46600 block of Tyler Street, KESQ reported.
By 9 a.m. local time, the fire – dubbed the Tyler Fire -- had burned up to 15 acres of land, according to Cal Fire. While it was just 10% contained, authorities said it wasn’t expected to spread any further.
Firefighters reported downed power lines, but no structures were threatened.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
No injuries were reported.
Fire potential to extend across much of the Southwest through late Spring
It is not unusual to see fire potential grow during the early part of Spring in the southern U.S. As we move into mid-April, the highest risk of fire affects mainly the central and southern Great Plains. Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, southern Colorado, west Texas, Arizona and even areas of southern Utah, southwest California, southwest Missouri, northwest Arkansas, eastern Montana and western North Dakota are on the list of areas that could see fire potential on the rise in the coming months.
Image courtesy of NOAA. Fire potential April/May.
Between now and the end of Spring, drought development and expansion will continue to dominate in many areas of the U.S. Forecasts have been persistent in showing a pattern of below normal precipitation across the southern third of the country, something we should expect during La Niña. Sea Surface Temperature (SST) forecasts also indicate that the equatorial Pacific should return from cold to neutral or near-neutral conditions by late Spring.
But far from the equatorial Pacific, the Four Corner states and the South-Central Plains, are expecting drought to persist or even grow. This will also be the case in Southern California, northeast Montana, the eastern Dakotas, southeast Oregon and some sectors of the southeast U.S.
As Spring moves along, the big concern, besides the lack of precipitation, is the drying vegetation and how incoming Pacific storms might intensify wind conditions. With the dry tinder and the intense winds, some of the areas in red on the map could be facing significant fires in the coming weeks.
On occasions, all it will take is a passing frontal boundary like the one expected this week characterized by little or no precipitation moving east of the Rockies. The gusty winds combined with the downslope orographic features of the area will increase the potential for wildfires to ignite and rapidly propagate especially where vegetation is dry and abundant.
Be especially aware of your surroundings and be sure to avoid outdoor burning during elevated or critical fire weather days. Check for alerts in your area regularly.