Air Temperature and Wildfires

What effect does air temperature have on wildfires?

In reading reports about the California fires this week, there are several mentions of the Hot Santa Ana winds playing a roll in spreading the fires. Wind I understand, but why is the fact that the wind is hot so significant?

And then today, I read that “Chilly temperatures helped stall the deadly wildfires…”

I can’t imagine how air temp. would have a direct effect on the spreading or “stalling” of the fires.

Go bust out the old HS chemistry books and look up things that influence reaction rates.

Hot dry wind will also tend to very quickly dehydrate vegetation, less water in the plant means less energy to ignite them.

That is, in firefighting language *Fuel Moisture Content]/i]. Even without the Santa Ana’s the FMC was very low in Southern Cailf due to, what they are calling extended drought. The conditions were almost to a point that static electricity could spark a fire.
The hot conditions during a Santa Ana also make it difficult to fight the fire. We humans have enough trouble with temperatures in the 90s and 100s without putting on 80 pounds of clothing and gear, climbing up hill 10 feet from a raging fire. (Up hill, because the winds push the fire up hill, and you want to stay behind or flanking the fire. You can’t run fast enough to get out of the way if you’re at the top of the hill)
*cite[/] My husband is a firefighter. He started as a teenager fighting wildland fires with Calif Dept of Forestry. :slight_smile: