LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fire and weather officials are urging Southern Californians to heed high fire and wind warnings over the next three days after a third year of especially dry conditions.
A red flag warning of low humidity and gusty northeast Santa Ana winds is in effect from 3 a.m. Monday through 6 p.m. Wednesday in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, said National Weather Service meteorologist David Sweet.
He said winds in Los Angeles County’s mountains and the Santa Monica Mountains could gust at 60 mph and at 50 mph in the valleys. A high wind warning is in effect from 7 p.m. Sunday through 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Nearly a third of the city of Los Angeles has mountainous terrain that’s covered with fast-burning brush such as manzanita. Firefighters have responded to the dangers by moving resources to the foothills and, in some cases, augmenting their resources.
Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said firefighters are being placed in “dynamic mode” and being moved to areas with more fire danger to counter threats of high winds. Firefighters are also on standby to be called in should any blaze break out.
“When it comes to wildfire weather, wind is king,” Humphrey said. “We’re asking (you) to use caution and common sense when in areas prone to wildfire. The human element is the one thing we cannot independently control.”
Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Brian Jordan said an additional 40 firefighters have been deployed Sunday primarily in the hills of Malibu, Agoura, Chatsworth and the Santa Clarita Valley.
Temperatures are expected to be higher than usual for this time of year, with temperatures in the mid-70s and mid-80s, Sweet says.
The region has not had much rainfall this year — typically downtown Los Angeles will have nearly 5.5 inches of rain since July 1 and thus far it’s logged less than an inch, Sweet said. It’s the third season in a row that Southern California’s drier than normal.