Federal firefighters will be on standby near national forests — including those in the Inland Empire — in preparation for a Santa Ana wind event expected to blow through the region beginning Monday, increasing the chance of wildfires.
“Approximately nine hand-crews, 46 engines, three bulldozers, eight helicopters, five large air tankers and one very large air tanker are ready to respond to any new fires in the Cleveland, San Bernardino, Angeles and Los Padres National Forests,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Nathan Judy.
He said the potential for fires is expected to increase across Southern California on Monday and Tuesday, with another possible round of Santa Ana winds forecasted Thursday and Friday.
A red flag warning will be in effect for the Inland Empire from 4 a.m. Monday to 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters said wind speeds in most places are expected to be 20 mph to 30 mph while gusts may reach up to 40 mph.
The strongest winds will likely be concentrated in narrow passes, including the San Gorgonio Pass, around Banning, Beaumont and Cabazon, where gusts could hit 50 mph, meteorologists said.
The NWS said humidity is expected to plunge to as low as 10%, creating tinderbox-dry conditions next week.
An offshore flow will result in warmer-than-usual temperatures for Monday through Wednesday, with Tuesday expected to be the warmest day of the week, the NWS said.
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