Red Flag Warnings Go Up as Heat, Dry Winds Bake Southern California

The heat wave continues for Southern California as cities across the greater Los Angeles region rack up record highs and red flag warnings. The National Weather Service says that in addition to the heat, winds will now join the fun, and that will push down relative humidity levels which in turn, will increase fire danger. 

Dry winds, fed by onshore gusts nearing 45 mph are forecast for some areas. Humidity levels as low as 3% are possible for the Antelope Valley area where a new temperature record of 108 degrees was set on Sunday. 

The heat and low humidity has contributed to a high risk of brush fires breaking out like the one in Santa Clarita where 870 acres and one structure were burned in a blaze that's now 50% contained. 

The fire - which was started by a crash on the south 14 Freeway near the Sierra Highway offramp - was reported just after 12:30 pm on Sunday according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The flames "jumped the freeway" according to fire officials. 

A tree caught fire thanks to the crash and those flames spread quickly toward Disney Ranch where one structure was destroyed. One firefighter was hospitalized while fighting the blaze, but there was no word on the firefighter's condition. 

About 220 county firefighters along with four water-dropping helicopters and two fixed wing aircraft dropping flame retardant were dispatched to fight the fire. Mandatory evacuations were ordered for Disney Ranch while firefighters worked on containing the blaze. Residents were allowed to return home just after 10 pm on Sunday. 

Thankfully, the two-week long heat wave is expected to taper somewhat beginning on Tuesday as temps will begin dropping statewide. 

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