Fire danger sign
A fire danger warning in Southern California. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Southland temperatures will begin to rise Friday and hit the 80s in several communities starting Sunday amid a risk of wind- driven wildfires, especially in mountain and forest areas of Los Angeles County, National Weather Service forecasters said.

Friday’s temperatures will climb only by around 3 degrees above Thursday’s and remain in the 60s, but Saturday’s are forecast to increase by another 8 degrees or so, and Sunday’s should rise by another 9 degrees and hit the 80s, according to a National Weather Service forecast. As of Friday morning, Sunday’s highs are expected to hit 84 in Pasadena, 85 in Downtown L.A., 86 in Long Beach and 87 in Anaheim.

Sunday’s highs will be 10-14 degrees above normal because of a ridge of high pressure and moderate-to-strong Santa Ana winds, NWS forecasters said, and Monday’s highs will be marginally higher in several communities.

Because of the impending conditions, especially high winds and low humidity levels, a fire weather watch, which is one notch less severe than a red flag warning, will be in effect from Saturday evening through Monday afternoon in the San Gabriel and Santa Monica Mountains in L.A. and Ventura County, the Angeles National forest in L.A. County, and Ventura County’s Los Padres National Forest.

During that time, the wind may blow at sustained speeds of 25 to 35 miles per hour and gust at between 50 and 60 miles per hour in the mountains and at between 40 and 50 mph in coastal and valley areas, according to an NWS statement. At the same time, humidity levels will be at only 15 to 25 percent during daytime hours, with little improvement at night, according to the NWS.

“A Fire Weather Watch means that there is the potential for critical fire weather conditions. This in combination with dry fuels (vegetation) could create extreme fire danger and fire behavior,” according to the NWS statement.

“The combination of strong winds, low humidity, warm temperatures, and dry fuels will potentially bring critical fire weather conditions. Any new fire ignitions will have the potential for large growth with rapid fire spread.”

The NWS forecast a sunny day in L.A. County Friday, along with highs of 53 on Mount Wilson; 57 in Lancaster; 58 in Palmdale; 61 in Avalon; 63 in Saugus; 66 in San Gabriel and at LAX; 68 in Downtown L.A., Long Beach, Pasadena and Burbank; and 69 in Woodland Hills. Temperatures will climb into the 70s Saturday and the 80s on Sunday, then revert to the 70s Tuesday and fall to the low 70s Wednesday.

Sunny conditions were also forecast in Orange County Friday, along with highs of 60 in Laguna Beach and San Clemente; 64 in Newport Beach; 65 in Mission Viejo; 68 in Yorba Linda, Fullerton and Irvine; and 69 in Anaheim. Saturday’s temperatures will be in the 70s and Sunday’s, in the 80s.

Off the coast, a small craft advisory warning of potentially perilous conditions for small vessels, especially if operated by inexperienced sailors, will be in effect until 3 a.m. Saturday.

—City News Service

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