Another round of Santa Ana winds is in store for the Southland, with gusty conditions expected to begin Wednesday evening and build into Thanksgiving — prompting forecasters to warn of critical wildfire danger.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning of dangerous fire conditions that will be in effect Thursday into Friday.
The warning take effect at 1 a.m. Thursday and continue to 11 a.m. Friday in the Santa Monica and Los Angeles County Mountains and the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys. The warning will be in effect from 8 a.m. Thursday to 11 a.m. Friday on the Malibu coast.
“Winds will really ramp up after midnight and peak through Thursday morning with gusts peaking in the 40 to 55 mph range, with potentially damaging gusts up to 65 mph for adjacent mountains and valleys of western Los Angeles and eastern Ventura Counties,” according to the NWS. “Winds will remain gusty through Thursday night, but likely in the 30 to 50 mph range, then slowly diminish through the day on Friday. Humidity levels will initially start out above critical levels at the onset of stronger winds this (Wednesday) evening, but will lower by early Thursday morning in the 5 to 15 percent range.
“The combination of these gusty winds and very low humidity will very likely lead to at least 6 to 12 hours of widespread critical fire weather conditions.”
A red flag warning is an indication that critical fire weather conditions are expected, and residents were urged to “use extreme caution with anything that can spark a wildfire.”
Forecasters also warned that the high winds can topple trees and power lines, possibly leading to power outages, while also making driving treacherous for trucks and other high-profile vehicles.
“This Santa Ana event will be a bit more out of the east than recent events leading to more of a focus on the western San Fernando Valley and western portions of the Santa Monica mountains,” according to the NWS.
Forecasters urged residents in fire-prone areas to begin preparing right away for possibly blazes that could force evacuations. The NWS urged residents to visit readyforwildfire.org or wildfirerisk.org for tips on preparing for blazes.