A Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter. Courtesy LAFD
A Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter. Courtesy LAFD

Temperatures soaring into the 90s in downtown Los Angeles and across the Southland will combine with hot, dry Santa Ana winds Friday and through the weekend for a post-summer heatwave that will bring significant danger of wildfire danger.

Low humidity, parched vegetation and high temperatures create “extreme fire danger,” according to the National Weather Service.

The strongest winds Friday mainly will buffet the mountains and valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with gusts of between 30 and 45 miles per hour expected before the winds weaken Saturday, the NWS said in a statement.

“The gusty northeast winds, very low relative humidity, hot temperatures and extremely dry fuels will result in extreme fire danger, with red flag warnings posted for much of Ventura and Los Angeles counties,” it said.

The winds are expected to ease off Friday afternoon before regaining strength tonight, forecasters said. Humidity levels, meanwhile, will sink to single digits in much of the region. It’s expected to range between 8 and 15 percent, the NWS said. These conditions, it added, could cause a fire to spread rapidly and display “extreme behavior.”

Red flag warnings denoting a high risk of wildfire will be in force until 3 p.m. Saturday in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, the Santa Monica Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains in L.A. and Ventura counties, and the forests covering those mountains — L.A. County’s Angeles National Forest and Ventura County’s Los Padres National Forest. A red flag warning will also be in force in inland Orange County — until 2 p.m. today.

The strongest winds in the valleys will blow across the Highway 118 corridor in Ventura County and the northwest San Fernando Valley, forecasters said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the threatening conditions by staffing nine extra fire engines, five extra brush patrols and one extra helicopter to be on standby. But there are no parking restrictions in effect in hillside areas, as is sometimes the case amid red flag conditions.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s “augmented staffing” includes nine extra water tenders, which are fire trucks that can carry large amounts of water; nine extra truck patrols; and the pre-deployment of a strike team — consisting of five fire engines and a battalion chief — at Fire Station 89 in Malibu.

The NWS forecast sunny skies Friday and highs of 79 in Avalon; 81 on Mount Wilson; 83 in Palmdale; 84 in Lancaster and at LAX; 89 in Saugus; 90 in downtown L.A.; 92 in Long Beach and Burbank; 94 in San Gabriel; and 95 in Pasadena and Woodland Hills.

Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 78 in Newport Beach; 79 in San Clemente; 82 in Laguna Beach; 89 in Mission Viejo; 90 in Irvine; 91 in Anaheim; 93 in Fullerton; and 94 in Yorba Linda.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s temperatures will be roughly the same, begin retreating Monday and fall several degrees Tuesday.

—City News Service

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