The Southland braced for two days of high winds and low humidity Wednesday, as forecasters issued warnings for extreme wildfire danger Thursday and Friday amid a week-long heat wave.
The strong Santa Ana winds and hot, dry weather were also prompting Southern California Edison to consider temporarily shutting off power for hundreds of thousands of customers to limit the risk of accidental fires.
A red flag warning goes into effect at 5 a.m. Thursday until 5 p.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
Winds are expected to begin picking up steam after midnight, with the strongest gusts in the mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley. Sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph are expected, but gusts could get up to 60 mph, the NWS said.
Edison officials said the utility is considering precautionary power shutoffs that could potentially affect more than 300,000 customers across its service territory. The shutoffs would be carried out to de-energize power lines in danger of being damaged or downed by strong winds, potentially sparking wildfires.
As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 66,000 customers in Los Angeles County were under consideration for electricity shutoffs. Areas in the affected zone include Azusa, Covina, Glendora, Lancaster, La Canada Flintridge, Palmdale, San Fernando, Santa Clarita, and San Dimas, along with unincorporated areas including Rowland Heights, Vincent, Falling Springs, Leona Valley, Lake Hughes, Green Valley, Lake Elizabeth, Cantillas, Canyon Country, Lakeview Terrace, Agua Dulce, Mint Canyon, Chatsworth, Alta Dena, Acton, Singing Springs, Letteau Canyon, White Heather, and Boiling Point, Portal Ridge, Castaic, Mount Disappointment and Mount Wilson.
In Orange County, more than 26,000 customers live in affected zones, which include Irvine, Orange and Villa Park and unincorporated areas including El Modena, Trabuco Canyon and Robinson Ranch.
Due to the critical fire conditions, the city of Los Angeles will enact red flag parking restrictions at 8 a.m. Thursday in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones. The restrictions are put in place in an effort to keep streets clear of parked vehicles to ensure fire apparatus can reach brush fires, while also clearing a path for residents who may need to quickly evacuate a fire area.
Meanwhile, firefighters were battling a 40-acre brush fire in Pacific Palisades that was 40% contained Wednesday. The 8,799-acre Saddleridge Fire in the northern San Fernando Valley was 97% contained.
The heat wave was expected to continue for a few more days. The high in downtown Los Angeles was expected to be 92 degrees Wednesday, 94 on Thursday and 96 on Friday.
Other expected highs Wednesday were 95 in Van Nuys and Pasadena, 96 in West Hollywood, and 93 in Anaheim and Valencia.