Santa Ana Winds Put Southland Under Wildfire Warning


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Santa Ana winds again battered parts of the Southland today, prompting red flag warnings of wildfire conditions and leading to thousands of people having their power cut off to reduce the risk of blazes being sparked by the gusts.

The red flag warning will continue until 10 p.m. Saturday in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, Los Angeles County mountains, Angeles National Forest and Santa Clarita Valley.

A separate red flag warning will continue until 6 p.m. Friday for the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, along with the coastal area, which extends to downtown Los Angeles.

“This is a particularly dangerous situation for the mountains due to the combination of extremely dry vegetation, strong winds, and very dry air especially Thursday morning into Thursday afternoon,'' according to the weather service.

“Elevated to brief critical fire weather conditions will persist after Saturday due to offshore winds and dry air through early next week.'' Shortly after the warnings went into effect at 6 p.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service reported a 60 mph wind gust at Magic Mountain Truck Trail in Santa Clarita.

Gusts were expected to reach 40 mph in the Santa Clarita Valley on Thursday, 50 mph in parts of the San Fernando Valley, and up to 70 mph in the mountains.

NWS forecasters said humidity levels are expected to drop into single digits in most areas through the afternoon.

The wind event again prompted Southern California Edison to implement its Public Safety Power Shutoffs, in which electricity is cut in particularly wind-affected areas to prevent equipment damage that could spark fires.

“We understand that having your power turned off is a hardship, especially in the middle of a pandemic and when most folks are at home. We are working to limit the number of customers who are shutoff due to Public Safety Power Shutoffs,'' Vik Trehan, SCE director and incident commander, said in a statement.

“We know this is especially difficult for customers who lost power due to PSPS over the Thanksgiving holiday and who live in areas with high winds and increased wildfire threats. These PSPS are initiated to reduce the risk of wildfires and to protect communities from wildfire danger.''

Thousands of customers in Los Angeles and Orange counties had their power cut off on Wednesday. As of late Thursday morning, the utility listed 9,935 customers without power in Los Angeles County due to public safety shutoffs, with another 27,691 under consideration for possible shutoffs. In Orange County, 1,605 customers were without power, with another 19,297 under consideration for shutoffs.

Residents can get more information about the shutoffs, and determine if they are in an area being considered for power cuts, by visiting www.sce.com/psps.

In Orange County, a red flag warning went into effect at 6 p.m. Wednesday and will last until 10 p.m. Saturday in inland areas including Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Irvine, Orange, Fullerton and Mission Viejo, as well as the Santa Ana Mountains.

A wind-driven brush fire broke out late Wednesday in Silverado Canyon. The Bond Fire was sparked by a house fire and had burned 4,000 acres by midday Thursday, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

Photo: Getty Images


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