A fire danger sign with the iconic Smokey Bear. Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control
A fire danger sign with the iconic Smokey Bear. Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control

Holiday fun could easily turn to tragedy this weekend as hot, dry, windy weather threatens Southern California with possible out-of-control wildfires.

The risk of wildfire will confront parts of the Southland Friday and Saturday amid strong onshore winds and low humidity levels, the National Weather Service said.

A red flag warning denoting a high risk of wildfire will be in force in Los Angeles County in the San Gabriel Mountains and the Angeles National Forest from 11 Friday morning until 8 p.m. Saturday.

During that period, the red flag zone will be swept by south-to- southwest winds of between 15 and 25 miles per hour accompanied by gusts of 35 mph, diminishing to between 8 and 15 mph with 25-mph gusts during the overnight and morning hours, forecasters said.

At the same time, the humidity level will drop to between 5 and 15 percent during the day, with many locations experiencing a rise only to between 10 and 20 percent at night, they said.

The low humidity will result from very dry air moving into mountain areas at higher elevations, they said, adding that the deepening trough of low pressure forecast to generate stronger winds will also trigger a slight cooling in the region.

“If fire ignition occurs, conditions are favorable for extreme fire behavior and rapid spread of wildfire, which would threaten life and property,” warned an NWS statement.

An improvement in the humidity situation is expected in interior areas Sunday through Tuesday, forecasters said.

Off the coast, a small craft advisory indicating hazardous conditions for small vessels will be in effect until 3 a.m. Saturday.

The NWS forecast both partly cloudy and sunny skies in Los Angeles County Friday and highs of 74 in Avalon; 75 at LAX; 79 in Long Beach; 81 in downtown L.A.; 82 in San Gabriel and on Mount Wilson; 83 in Burbank; 85 in Pasadena; 89 in Woodland Hills and Saugus; and 93 in Palmdale and Lancaster. Temperatures will dip a few degrees over the next several days beginning Saturday but generally revert to today’s levels Wednesday.

A mix of sunny and partly cloudy skies is forecast for Orange County today, along with highs of 74 in San Clemente; 75 in Newport Beach; 77 in Laguna Beach; 80 in Anaheim and Irvine; 81 in Fullerton; and 84 in Yorba Linda. Temperatures are expected to be roughly similar through Wednesday but rise by several degrees on Thursday.

—City News Service

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