A fire danger sign with the iconic Smokey Bear. Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control

As a giant fire roars across Orange County and smoke blankets much of Southern California, red flag warnings denoting a high risk of wildfire were scheduled to expire in the Southland Tuesday morning but strong winds will persist in parts of Los Angeles County.

The warnings scheduled to expire at 10 a.m. went into effect Monday amid powerful winds, relatively high temperatures, low humidity and the presence of very dry vegetation.

Temperatures were expected to be in the mid-80s in downtown Los Angeles and local valleys Tuesday.

They were issued for the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the forests stretching over the range — the Angeles National Forest in L.A. County and Ventura County’s Los Padres National Forest — the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys, the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley and L.A.’s coastal zone, which includes beach cities, metropolitan L.A., the downtown area and the Hollywood Hills.

The offshore Santa Ana winds should die down Tuesday morning, giving way to onshore winds by Tuesday afternoon, forecasters said, adding that these winds will keep the danger of wildfire elevated, although an increase in humidity levels will mitigate that danger somewhat.

A wind advisory indicating winds or gusts of 35 miles per hour will be in effect until noon in the San Gabriel Mountains and Santa Clarita Valley. Winds of 20 to 30 mph gusting at 45 mph will blow through the San Gabriels, while in the Santa Clarita Valley, the forecast calls for winds of 15 to 25 mph with 35 mph gusts.

“Winds this strong can cause power outages,” warned an NWS statement. “Cross winds can make driving difficult, especially for drivers of high profile vehicles and vehicles towing trailers.”

NWS forecasters said driving conditions Tuesday morning would be challenging on Interstate 5 and Highways 14 and 126.

The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County Tuesday and highs of 74 degrees on Mount Wilson; 77 in Avalon; 79 at LAX; 80 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 83 in Long Beach; 84 in Saugus; 85 in Downtown L.A. and Burbank; 86 in San Gabriel; 87 in Pasadena; and 89 in Woodland Hills. Temperatures will decline by 1 to 8 degrees Wednesday and fall again by just a few degrees on Thursday before ramping up again on Friday, generally netting out at slightly higher levels than Tuesday.

Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 71 in Laguna Beach and San Clemente; 73 in Newport Beach; 83 in Anaheim, Irvine and Mission Viejo; and 85 in Yorba Linda and Fullerton. The cooler temperatures will change little over the next six days, but the higher temperatures will decline by up to 7 degrees Wednesday, then begin climbing again and revert to roughly Tuesday’s levels by Saturday.

—City News Service

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