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

Wildfire warnings will be in effect from Thursday evening through Saturday morning in mountain, forest and valley areas of Los Angeles County because of strong, gusty winds, low humidity and dry vegetation.

It was a scary forecast as more than a thousand firefighters were finally getting a handle on the massive Orange County fire and Southern California watched in horror as deadly out-of-control giant fires roared across Northern California.

Temperatures could top out in the low 90s over the weekend in downtown Los Angeles and other inland areas.

A red flag warning signifying a high risk of wildfire will be in effect from 8 Thursday evening until 10 a.m. Saturday in the San Gabriel Mountains and the forests that stretch over them — the Angeles National Forest in Los Angeles County and Ventura County’s Los Padres National Forest. North to northeast winds of between 15 and 30 miles per hour accompanied by 45-mph gusts will sweep the mountains, with the strongest likely near the Interstate 5 corridor, forecasters said.

“There is a possibility that critical fire weather conditions could move into the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys as well as the Santa Monica Mountains,” according to an NWS statement. “So a fire weather watch” – – it’s slightly less serious than a red flag warning — “has been issued for these areas Thursday evening through Saturday morning.”

Winds of 15 to 25 mph with 40-mph gusts are expected in the areas for which the fire weather watch has been issued.

Humidity levels in the threatened areas will dip to the low teens and single digits in the areas threatened by wildfire, according to the NWS.

The NWS said that by Saturday morning, the winds buffeting the region will turn to the northeast “and a weak to moderate Santa Ana wind event is expected Saturday and Sunday. Very dry air will remain in place this weekend. So there will be the possibility of critical fire weather conditions across Ventura and Los Angeles counties.”

Off the coast, a small craft advisory will expire at 9 a.m. Thursday, and a gale warning will be in effect from 9 Thursday morning until 9 Thursday evening, with winds of 15 to 25 knots gusting to 35 knots expected. A gale warning indicates winds of 34 to 47 knots are occurring or imminent.

The NWS forecast partly cloudy skies Thursday and highs of 68 degrees on Mount Wilson; 72 at LAX; 73 in Avalon; 74 in Long Beach; 75 in San Gabriel; 76 in downtown L.A.; 77 in Pasadena and Burbank; 78 in Saugus and Lancaster; 79 in Palmdale; and 81 in Woodland Hills.

Sunny skies were forecast in Orange County Thursday, along with highs of 69 in Laguna Beach and San Clemente; 73 in Newport Beach; 75 in Mission Viejo; 76 in Irvine; 77 in Anaheim and Yorba Linda; and 78 in Fullerton.

Temperatures will rise Friday by around six degrees in many communities, by another five degrees or so on Saturday, and around five degrees more on Sunday, when the high will be 92 in Downtown L.A. and Yorba Linda and 98 in Woodland Hills. A dip of six degrees or so is expected in some communities Monday, ushering in a slow cooling trend.

—City News Service

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