With temperatures on the rise and gusting winds in the forecast, a red flag warning of elevated wildfire danger goes into effect across the Southland Saturday evening and continues until Monday.
The warning will take effect at 10 p.m. Saturday and continue until 3 p.m. Monday in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, Los Angeles County mountains, Angeles National Forest and the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys, according to the National Weather Service. It will be in effect from 7 p.m. Saturday to 4 p.m. Monday in Orange County inland areas and the Cleveland National Forest.
The threat comes thanks to a high-pressure system moving into the area that will lead to a “moderate to strong Santa Ana wind event,” according to the NWS. Forecasts said humidity levels could drop to the single digits in some areas, coupled with wind gusts of 55 to 65 mph in the mountains and 40 to 50 mph in the valleys.
Heightened fire danger is also possible in Los Angeles County coastal areas, forecasters said.
“The combination of strong winds, low humidity, warm temperatures and dry fuels will bring critical fire weather conditions,” according to the NWS. “Any new fire ignitions will have the potential for large growth with rapid fire spread.”
Saturday’s temperatures increased 6-8 degrees over Friday’s highs, and Sunday’s should rise by another 9 degrees and hit the 80s, according to the NWS. Sunday’s highs are expected to hit 84 in Pasadena, 85 in downtown Los Angeles, 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.
Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said that due to the winds and increased fire danger, the OCFA will have its 22-person firefighting hand crew on alert for 24-hour shifts. It will also fully staff two bulldozers, two water-dropping helicopters and five water tenders.
Concialdi reminded residents to stay vigilant during this wind event and prepare themselves in case they have to quickly evacuate their homes.
—City News Service
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