Fire Weather To Sweep Southland

Beetles Bring Devastation And Extreme Fire Danger To Southern California Forests

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Critical fire weather conditions characterized by strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity will prevail in the Southland from late Wednesday night until early Friday evening, the National Weather Service said today.

The weather service issued a fire weather watch that will be in effect over most of L.A. and Ventura counties from Wednesday night to Friday evening.

It said the wind will gust at between 45 and 70 miles per hour Thursday afternoon and evening amid humidity levels of 5 to 10 percent. Given the abundance of dry vegetation, “critical fire weather conditions are likely,” the NWS said in a statement, adding that a decision on whether to convert the watch into a red flag warning will be taken today or Wednesday.

The watch will be in force in the San Gabriel Mountains in L.A and Ventura counties, the Angeles National Forest, Ventura County's Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational area, with northeast winds of 25 to 40 miles per hour expected, along with 70 mph gusts amid humidity levels of 5 to 10 percent.

It will also be in force along the coast, in Downtown L.A. and in the San Gabriel, San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys -- areas where northeast winds of 20 to 30 mph are expected, along with 55 mph gusts and humidity levels of 5-10 percent.

At the same time, a fire weather watch will be in force in all of Orange County, with northeast winds of 20-30 miles expected, along with gusts of 50 mph, humidity levels of 5-10 percent, dipping to 5 percent on Friday, forecasters said.

“If fire ignition occurs, conditions may be favorable for extreme fire behavior, which would threaten life and property,” a statement said.

The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County today and highs of 73 on Mount Wilson; 74 in Avalon; 75 at LAX; 79 in Long Beach; 81 degrees in Downtown L.A.; 83 in San Gabriel and Burbank; 85 in Pasadena; 86 in Saugus; 87 in Woodland Hills; 88 in Palmdale and 89 in Lancaster. Temperatures will fall by up to 10 degrees Wednesday, rise by a couple of degrees on Thursday and revert to today's temperatures on Friday.

Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 70 on Santiago Peak; 72 in Laguna Beach and San Clemente; 74 in Newport Beach; 78 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 81 in Fullerton; 83 in Yorba Linda and Irvine; and 84 in Mission Viejo, Fremont Canyo and Trabuco Canyon. Temperatures will fall by up to 10 degrees Wednesday, a few more degrees Thursday, then revert to nearly today's highs on Friday.

Photo: Getty Images

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