Warmer-than-average temperatures are set to hit Santa Cruz County on Thursday, drying out already-stressed vegetation.
The Santa Cruz Mountains could see highs of upper 80s to lower 90s on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service Bay Area. Near the coast, weather is expected to be more mild where temperatures will hover around the high 70s.
The trend triggered an early end to the backyard burning season, according to Cal Fire CZU San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit Battalion Chief Jed Wilson, which usually extends through April 30.
“We haven’t had a substantial rain since December — it’s been almost three full months with very little precipitation, which is a compounding factor when we’re already in a drought,” Wilson said. “The conditions are more conducive to wildfire spreading.”