Red flag warnings of critical fire danger were in place for much of the Southland Friday through Saturday night amid a combination of Santa Ana winds, higher temperatures, low humidity and very dry conditions.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department “pre-deployed” two strike teams to strategic locations around the county and ordered additional staffing of both ground and aerial personnel.
With the National Weather Service warnings in place from 6 a.m. Friday until 8 p.m. Saturday, the fire department also warned that utility companies might temporarily shut off power in high-risk areas.
The department also urged residents to be familiar with evacuation routes should they become necessary, and to report any signs of smoke immediately by calling 911.
The red flag warnings apply to the L.A County coast, downtown L.A., the Los Angeles County Mountains, the Angeles National Forest, Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.
A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly.
“A moderate Santa Ana wind event will continue over much of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties through Saturday evening,” the weather service said.
“Peak wind gusts are expected between 30 and 45 mph with isolated areas gusting to around 55 mph. The peak winds are expected in the morning and early afternoon hours each day.”
The NWS also said humidity levels were expected to hover in the single digits to low teens, with temperatures in the 80s along the coast and 90s inland.
“If fire ignition occurs, conditions are favorable for extreme fire behavior and rapid rate of fire spread which would threaten life and property,” the weather service said.
People were also urged to use extreme caution with potential fire ignition sources.