Red Flag Warning in Tenth Day

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The string of red flag warnings denoting a high risk of wildfire in the Southland went into its 10th straight day today, and forecasters said the uncommonly long stretch would last at least another two days because of strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity.

Red flag warning expiration dates have been extended every day since Thursday. National Weather Service meteorologist Curt Kaplan said that while precise records on the subject are not readily available, 10 days is the longest run of red flag warnings he recalls in the Southland.

The latest red flag warning issued by the NWS is scheduled to be in effect until 10 a.m. Friday in mountain, forest and some valley areas of Los Angeles and Ventura county.

Specifically, the warning covers the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains in both counties, the Angeles National Forest in L.A. County, Ventura County's Los Padres National Forest, and L.A. County's Santa Clarita Valley.

A red flag warning will be in effect in the San Fernando Valley from 4 a.m. Thursday morning to 10 a.m. Friday. Northeast winds of 10 and 25 mph will sweep the valley and gust at 40 mph amid humidity levels of 3-8 percent, according to the NWS.

A red flag warning will be in force from 6 a.m. Thursday until 10 a.m. Friday in L.A. County beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, Downtown L.A., and the Hollywood Hills because of 15-25 mph winds gusting to 40 mph amid humidity levels of between 3 and 10 percent, it said.

The San Fernando Valley and the city of Los Angeles earlier were scheduled to be under a fire weather watch, which is a notch less serious than a red flag warning.

NWS forecasters said northeast winds of 10 to 25 miles per hour today would sweep the San Gabriels and the Angeles National Forest accompanied by 40- mile-per-hour gusts. By Thursday, the wind will increase to between 15 and 30 mph, gusting to 50 mph. Humidity levels will be at a low 2 to 6 percent, increasing to between 5 and 10 percent on Thursday.

A red flag warning will also be in force until Friday morning in the Santa Monica Mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley. These areas today will experience northeast winds of 8 to 16 mph with 30-mph gusts, increasing to between 15 and 30 mph with 45-mph gusts Thursday. As in the San Gabriels, humidity levels will be at a low 2 to 6 percent, increasing to between 5 and 10 percent on Thursday.

The conditions forecast through Friday morning mean that ''if fire ignition occurs, there will be the potential for rapid spread of wildfire and extreme fire behavior that could lead to a threat to life and property,'' according to an NWS statement.

The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County today and highs of 70 in Lancaster; 71 in Palmdale; 74 in Avalon and on Mount Wilson; 80 in Long Beach, Saugus and at LAX; 81 in Downtown L.A. and San Gabriel; 83 in Pasadena and Burbank; and 85 in Woodland Hills.

Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 69 in Laguna Beach and San Clemente; 72 in Newport Beach; 80 in Mission Viejo; 81 in Yorba Linda, Anaheim and Irvine; and 82 in Fullerton.

Thursday's highs will be marginally lower than today's.

Photo: Getty Images

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