A red flag warning is in effect in the Riverside metropolitan area and the Riverside County mountains until 4 p.m. Saturday after the directive was extended amid predictions of continued gusty winds.
In response to the warning, the U.S. Forest Service reported Saturday morning that it has “prepositioned” 27 engines, four crews, three air tankers and two “very large” air tankers in the Southern California mountains, which include Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties — “with more resources inbound.”
According to the National Weather Service, winds were expected to pick up again Saturday after dying down somewhat Friday night.
“The next round of Santa Ana winds will develop Saturday morning, peak Saturday afternoon into Saturday night with strongest gusts to around 45 mph, then diminish Sunday,” according to the NWS. “With humidity remaining quite low Saturday, this has prompted the extension of the red flag warning through 4 p.m. Saturday.”
The red flag warning means any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly and outdoor burning is not recommended, according to the NWS.
Wind gusts in the Riverside County valleys were expected to reach 40 mph by Saturday afternoon, then weaken to 35 mph overnight. Gusts of 35 mph were expected Saturday in the mountains, and 30 mph in the Coachella Valley.
Humidity dropped to between 8-12% Friday throughout the region.
Forecasters said a round of potentially stronger Santa Ana winds is expected Monday through Wednesday.
“Another round of more widespread and stronger northeast winds develops on Monday, peak late Monday night through Tuesday, then slowly subside for Tuesday night and Wednesday,” the NWS said. “Humidity looks higher and is expected to stay above 20 percent. There is also a chance of showers mainly for the mountains and lower deserts.”
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