The Rim Fire is a Big Fire and It’s Going to Be a Cold Day

Weekend storms could be a mixed blessing for crews battling California’s largest wildfire with a record number of homes destroyed by the Rim Fire burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

But they could bring a wind chill of as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit to the hardest working and most vulnerable people in the state.

“This is going to be a cold day,” said Mike Salyer, spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department. “It’s going to be colder than it’s ever been in Ventura County.”

More than 11,000 residences and businesses have been destroyed and more than 2,000 people are missing in the Rim Fire, which is the largest in California’s history.

“You would need to be a complete idiot to try to go out this morning and start hiking into Santa Barbara County,” said Salyer. “There is no possible way to do that.”

Salyer said the winds and a wet Santa Ana windswept air mass are keeping the fire burning. But he doesn’t expect the winds to change much.

“We could be down to two fires burning by the end of the week,” he said. “This is a big fire and we are going to be on the front line of this fire for awhile.”

As smoke from the blaze engulfs Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the first big weather event of the firefighters’ emergency is expected to hit Sunday.

That’s when the jet stream — the pattern of winds in the upper atmosphere that is important for the jet stream itself — will pull the jet stream to the northwest and produce a cold front, moving the wind and rain down the coast and inland.

“There’s a chance that this is going to be a very chilly start to the weekend,” said Mark Dagg, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Salyer said the fire began burning just after 8 p.m. Sunday, and then the winds began blowing on Monday morning, which caused the fire to become even more aggressive.

“All along

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