A fire danger sign with the iconic" Smokey the Bear." Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control
A fire danger sign with the iconic” Smokey the Bear.” Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control

The Southland braced for two days of high winds and low humidity beginning Thursday, as forecasters issued warnings for extreme wildfire danger.

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.

The strongest gusts are expected 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 Thursday morning, more than 68,000 customers in Los Angeles County were under consideration for electricity shutoffs. Areas in the affected zone include Azusa, Covina, Glendale, Glendora, La Canada-Flintridge, Lancaster, Palmdale, San Dimas, San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Malibu, and 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, Bell Canyon, Santa Susana, Santa Susana Knolls, La Crescenta-Montrose, Mount Baldy, San Antonio Heights, West Hills, Stevenson Ranch, Santa Clarita Woodlands Park, Along Angeles Crest Highway, Val Verde and Crescenta Valley.

In Orange County, more than 23,000 customers live in affected zones, which include Irvine, Orange, Villa Park, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Santa Ana, Tustin, Rancho Santa Margarita, and unincorporated areas including El Modena, Trabuco Canyon, and Robinson Ranch, within Irvine Regional Park, Panorama Heights, Orange Park Estates, Orange Park Acres and Coal Canyon.

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 45-acre brush fire in Pacific Palisades that was 55% contained Thursday morning. The 8,799-acre Saddleridge Fire in the northern San Fernando Valley was 97% contained.

The heat wave was expected to continue through Friday. The high in downtown Los Angeles was expected to be 95 degrees Thursday and 91 on Friday. Other expected highs Thursday were 95 in Van Nuys and Pasadena, 93 in West Hollywood, and 96 in Anaheim.

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