Wildfire Threat to Return to Southland

fire weather returns

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- The threat of wildfire will return to the Southland Friday because of strong winds and very dry vegetation but with less severity than on Monday and Tuesday, the National Weather Service said today.

“Offshore winds will increase on Friday and continue through Saturday. These winds will not be nearly as strong as what occurred earlier this week, but gusts between 30 and 45 miles per hour are possible. The moderately dry conditions currently occurring will change little through Saturday, with minimum humidities generally between 10 and 20 percent at lower elevations,” warned an NWS statement.

“As a result, along with little to no improvement in fuel conditions leading up to Friday, marginally critical conditions are possible over much of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. This event will not nearly be as severe as what occurred on Monday and Tuesday, but a Red Flag Warning may still be warranted. This watch will either be converted to a Red Flag Warning or canceled on Thursday.”

The fire weather watch will be in effect from Friday through Saturday afternoon in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Angeles National Forest, the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, L.A. County beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, the Downtown area and the Hollywood Hills.

As of this morning, no fire weather watch was issued for the Antelope Valley -- the one L.A. County region for which no red flag warning was issued earlier this week.

Forecasters said winds of between 15 and 30 mph would blow though mountain areas and gust at 45 mph amid humidity levels of 10-20 percent, while wind speeds of 10-25 mph were expected in valley, coastal and urban areas with 35-mph gusts.

“If fire ignition occurs, conditions may be favorable for extreme fire behavior, which would threaten life and property,” according to the NWS.

A fire weather watch will also be in force from late tonight through Saturday afternoon everywhere in Orange County -- the coast, inland areas and the mountains. Forecasters said weak offshore flow will course through the county Friday, generating gusts of around 35 mph, and weaken on Saturday. Humidity levels are forecast to be 15 percent Friday and 20 percent Saturday.

The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County today and highs of 67 on Mount Wilson; 77 in Avalon; 78 in Palmdale; 79 in Lancaster 81 at LAX; 82 in Saugus; 83 in Long Beach and San Gabriel; 84 in downtown L.A; 86 in Burbank and Pasadena; and 87 in Woodland Hills. Friday's highs will be four degrees higher in several communities.

Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County today, along with highs of 64 on Santiago Peak; 73 in San Clemente; 76 in Laguna Beach; 77 at 2600 feet on Ortega Highway; 79 in Newport Beach; 83 at Fremont Canyon; 85 in Anaheim, Irvine and Trabuco Canyon; 86 in Fullerton and Mission Viejo; and 88 in Yorba Linda. Friday's temperatures will be similar, though four degrees higher in Irvine.

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