Strong and gusty Santa Ana winds, low humidity levels and high temperatures prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag fire warning Thursday denoting a strong risk of wildfire for the Riverside County mountains and valleys.
A red flag warning will go into effect at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Riverside County mountains and valleys and last until 10 p.m. Friday. The NWS also issued a high wind warning for the Riverside County valleys that will be in effect from 10 a.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Friday. A high wind warning for the Riverside County mountains and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning went into effect at midnight and lasts until 6 p.m. Friday.
No advisories were issued for the Coachella Valley.
Along with low humidity levels, the strong Santa Ana winds blowing northeast are to blame for the fire danger, with winds of 20 to 30 mph in the forecast and gusts near 50 mph possible over the Santa Ana Mountains and near the Cajon Pass, according to the NWS.
Humidity was expected to drop to 5-10 percent Thursday.
Fuels are very dry and fires will grow rapidly and be difficult to control upon ignition, according to the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index.
High temperatures Thursday will be 75 to 80 near Riverside and around 78 degrees in Temecula.
With the heightened fire danger, authorities recommended that residents avoid outdoor burning and have emergency preparedness kits in order.
“An emergency can happen at any time,” a forecaster said in a statement on the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index Website. “Clean debris away from your house. Charge your cell phone and make sure you have plenty of gas.”
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