Gusting Santa Ana winds and dangerously dry conditions are expected to return to the region Wednesday, prompting forecasters to issue a red flag warning of critical fire danger that will last through Thanksgiving and into Friday.
The red flag warning will be in effect from 10 a.m. Wednesday until 6 p.m. Friday for Riverside County valleys and mountains and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning.
According to the National Weather Service, the forecast calls for northeast to east winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts reaching 40 to 50 mph, along with some isolated gusts as high as 60 mph in the Cajon and San Gorgonio passes.
The winds are expected to begin developing Wednesday morning, with the strongest winds anticipated Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning.
Humidity levels, meanwhile, will fall to about 10% Wednesday and then to 5% Thursday, recovering slightly on Friday, meaning conditions will remain dry through the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly,” according to the NWS. “Outdoor burning is not recommended.”
The winds are expected to diminish by the weekend, along with a “gradual recovery in humidity,” forecasters said.
As is typical during major wind events, Southern California Edison officials warned that the utility could impose Public Safety Power Shutoffs, cutting electricity in particularly wind-prone areas to reduce the risk of wildfires being sparked by wind-damaged electrified power lines.
Residents can visit SCE’s website at www.sce.com/wildfire/psps to see if their area is under consideration for potential power cuts.