Just as firefighters seem to be getting the upper hand on that monster home-destroying blaze in Orange County, weather forecasters had some bad news Wednesday: Hot, dry Santa Ana winds are coming and that means increasing fire danger.
The National Weather Service warns that critical fire weather conditions — including stiff Santa Ana winds and single-digit humidity levels — will bedevil sections of the Southland from Thursday night through Saturday morning.
The threat applies mainly to the San Gabriel Mountains near the Interstate 5 corridor in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, to the forests that cover the mountains — the Angeles National Forest in L.A. County and Ventura County’s Los Padres National Forest — and to sections of Santa Barbara County, according to an NWS statement.
“Critical red flag fire weather conditions are becoming more likely across the watch area late Thursday due to the potential for northerly winds gusting between 30 and 45 miles per hour” amid humidity levels of between 5 and 15 percent, warned the statement.
On Friday night, the wind will be similar “if not stronger” than on Thursday, it said, adding that critical conditions could extend briefly into the Santa Monica Mountains and L.A. County valleys.
“The combination of gusty northerly winds, low humidities, and very dry fuels may bring critical fire weather conditions … Thursday night through early Saturday,” the statement warned, adding that the conditions will create the risk of fires breaking out and rapidly burgeoning.
As a result, a fire weather watch, which is only slightly less severe than a red flag warning, may need to be issued for portions of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, NWS forecasters said.
—City News Service