High Winds, 'Very Low' Humidity Confront Firefighters

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Strong Santa winds combined with single-digit humidity levels and bone-dry vegetation will bedevil firefighters today as they battle the Woolsey Fire in L.A. and Ventura counties for a sixth day.

A red flag warning signifying a high risk of wildfire will be in effect until at least 5 p.m. Wednesday across Ventura County, the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains in L.A. County, the Angeles National Forest, the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, the L.A. County coast, beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills, the National Weather Service said.

“Moderate to strong Santa Ana winds combined with single-digit humidities will continue to bring very critical fire weather conditions across much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties through Tuesday,” according to an NWS statement. Wind gusts of between 40 and 60 miles per hour will be common during that time.

The wind is expected to diminish tonight and Wednesday but will continue to gust at between 25 and 40 mph, forecasters said, adding that conditions will create the potential for “very rapid fire spread.”

Northeast winds of between 20 and 35 mph will buffet the San Gabriel Mountains today and gust at between 45 and 55 mph amid humidity levels of 3-10 percent, the NWS said.

In the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and Ventura County's coastal valleys, north-to-northeast winds of 15-30 mph are expected, along with gusts of 40-50 mph, also with humidity levels of 3-10 percent. The same conditions will prevail in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational area.

In the San Gabriel Valley, the wind is expected to blow at 15-25 mph today and gust at 35 mph. About the same will occur in the city of Los Angeles.

The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County today along with highs of 65 degrees in Lancaster; 67 on Mount Wilson; 68 in Palmdale; 70 in Saugus; 73 in Avalon; 75 in San Gabriel and Burbank; 76 in Woodland Hills; 77 in Pasadena; 78 in Long Beach and Downtown L.A.; and 79 at LAX, which is rarely the hottest spot in L.A. Temperatures will be a few degrees warmer Wednesday, roughly the same Thursday, then begin a slow cooling trend Friday.

Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 58 on Santiago Peak; 68 on Ortega Highway at the 2,600-foot level; 74 in San Clemente and Fremont Canyon; 75 in Laguna Beach; 76 in Newport Beach and Trabuco Canyon; 77 in Yorba Linda; 79 in Anaheim, Mission Viejo and Irvine; and 80 in Fullerton. Temperatures will be the same or slightly higher until Friday, when a cooling trend will get underway.

Photo: Getty Images

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