Critical fire weather conditions characterized by strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity will prevail in the Southland from late Wednesday night until early Friday evening.
The National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch that will be in effect over most of Los Angeles and Ventura counties from Wednesday night to Friday evening.
According to the NWS, wind will gust at between 45 and 70 mph Thursday afternoon and evening amid humidity levels of 5% to 10%. Given the abundance of dry vegetation, “critical fire weather conditions are likely,” according to the NWS. Forecasters noted that a decision on whether to convert the watch into a red flag warning will be taken Tuesday or Wednesday.
The watch will be in force in the San Gabriel Mountains in L.A and Ventura counties, the Angeles National Forest, Ventura County’s Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational area, with northeast winds of 25 to 40 mph expected, along with 70 mph gusts amid humidity levels of 5% to 10%.
It will also be in force along the coast, in Downtown L.A. and in the San Gabriel, San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys — areas where northeast winds of 20 to 30 mph are expected, along with 55 mph gusts and humidity levels of 5% to 10%.
At the same time, a fire weather watch will be in force in all of Orange County, with northeast winds of 20-30 mph expected, along with gusts of 50 mph, humidity levels of 5% to 10%, dipping to 5% on Friday, forecasters said.
“If fire ignition occurs, conditions may be favorable for extreme fire behavior, which would threaten life and property,” according to the NWS.
The possibility of increased fire conditions prompted Southern California Edison to warn customers about potential “Public Safety Power Shutoffs” aimed at reducing the risk fires. Edison officials noted that the power cuts — which would de-energize lines that might be in danger of being damaged and igniting fires in high-wind conditions — are only “under consideration.” According to the utility, more than 106,000 customers throughout SCE’s service area live in the neighborhoods being considered for potential rolling power cuts.
In Los Angeles County, there are roughly 30,700 customers facing possible cuts, primarily in the northern reaches of the county such as Lancaster, Palmdale, Santa Clarita and areas such as Acton, Agua Dulce, Lake Hughes and Canyon Country. San Fernando is also included in the potentially affected area.
The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County Tuesday and highs of 73 on Mount Wilson; 74 in Avalon; 75 at LAX; 79 in Long Beach; 81 degrees in Downtown L.A.; 83 in San Gabriel and Burbank; 85 in Pasadena; 86 in Saugus; 87 in Woodland Hills; 88 in Palmdale and 89 in Lancaster. Temperatures will fall by up to 10 degrees Wednesday, rise by a couple of degrees on Thursday and revert to Tuesday’s temperatures on Friday.
Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 70 on Santiago Peak; 72 in Laguna Beach and San Clemente; 74 in Newport Beach; 78 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 81 in Fullerton; 83 in Yorba Linda and Irvine; and 84 in Mission Viejo, Fremont Canyo and Trabuco Canyon. Temperatures will fall by up to 10 degrees Wednesday, a few more degrees Thursday, then revert to nearly Tuesday’s highs on Friday.