Wild Fire Risk Threatens L.A, Ventura Counties

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A red flag warning denoting a high risk of wildfire will be in force for much of the day today in mountain, forest and valley areas of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties because of gusty Santa Ana winds and little humidity, which will dip to single digits in some areas.

“The strongest winds will be focused across eastern Ventura and western Los Angeles counties,” according to a National Weather Service statement, which warned of wind gusts of 35 to 50 miles per hour. “The Santa Ana winds will bring warming and drying to the warning area, with widespread humidities between 8 and 20 percent, along with high temperatures climbing well into the 80s across the lower elevations.”

The red flag warning will be in force until 6 p.m. in the San Gabriel Mountains in L.A. and Ventura counties, the forests stretching over those mountains -- the Angeles National Forest in L-A County and Ventura County's adjacent Los Padres National Forest -- the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, the Santa Monica Mountains, L.A. County beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, the Downtown L.A. area, the Hollywood Hills and Ventura County's coastal valleys.

In the San Gabriel Mountains and in forest areas, forecasters expect winds of 20-35 mph accompanied by gusts of up to 50 mph amid 12 percent humidity levels. In the valleys, the wind is expected to blow at 15 to 25 mph and gust at between 35 and 45 mph, also amid 12 percent humidity. In the Santa Monicas, winds of between 20 and 30 mph are expected along with gusts of 45-50 mph and 15 percent humidity. And in Los Angeles and beach cities, the wind will blow at 15 to 25 mph and gust at up to 35 mph while the humidity hovers at 18 percent, forecasters said.

“If fire ignition occurs, conditions will be favorable for rapid fire spread and extreme fire behavior, which would threaten life and property,” warned the NWS.

The red flag warning will be in force until 3 p.m. in Ventura County and the city of Los Angeles but expire only at 6 p.m. in the mountains, forest and valleys, according to the NWS.

The NWS forecast sunny skies today and highs of 69 degrees on Mount Wilson; 72 in Lancaster; 73 in Palmdale; 77 in Saugus; 78 in Avalon; 81 at LAX; 82 in Downtown L.A; 83 in Pasadena, San Gabriel, Burbank and Woodland Hills; and 84 in Long Beach. Temperatures will be up to 6 degrees higher Thursday.

Orange County, where no red flag warning is in effect, will also be sunny today, and highs will reach 62 on Santiago Peak; 71 in San Clemente; 73 in Laguna Beach and on Ortega Highway at the 2,600-foot level; 76 in Newport Beach; 77 at Fremont Canyon; 79 in Yorba Linda; 80 in Anaheim; 81 in Fullerton and Irvine; and 82 in Mission Viejo. Orange County highs will increase by up to 3 degrees Thursday.

Photo: Getty Images

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