Santa Ana winds will make a return to parts of Riverside County Friday, combining with low humidity levels and warm temperatures to create the potential for dangerous, wind-driven wildfires.
A red flag warning will be in effect from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday for Riverside County mountains and valleys and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning.
“Gusty offshore winds and low humidities will elevate the fire weather threat Friday,” according to the National Weather Service. “The strongest northeast winds will be in the mountain passes and foothills, and in the Inland Empire below the Cajon Pass with gusts from 35 to 45 mph.”
Forecasters said afternoon humidity levels will fall to about 15 percent on Friday, elevating the fire danger. Humidity is expected to increase slightly on Saturday, rising to about 20 percent.
“Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly,” NWS forecasters said.
Riverside County residents were urged to avoid outdoor burning during the warning.
High temperatures Thursday were expected to be 82 to 89 degrees in the Riverside metropolitan area, 67 to 73 degrees in the mountains and 82 to 87 in the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning.