Santa Ana winds will raise fire risk in Southern California

Southern California is being hit by back-to-back wind events in Santa Ana this week, raising the risk of fire for parts of the region.

The National Weather Service’s Oxnard office expects the first round of high winds and low humidity to hit Los Angeles and Ventura counties overnight and into Wednesday. A second round is possible on Saturday.

Although record rainfall hit the region last week, not all areas received significant rainfall, said Lisa Phillips, a weather forecaster with the Oxnard office.

Wednesday’s winds will dry out grasses, and the second round will further dry out fuels, Phillips said, preparing them for possible fires.

“Some areas have received quite a bit of rain, but we need to get at least 4 inches to officially end fire season,” she said. “Unfortunately we’re not there yet.”

A red flag warning is in effect for western Los Angeles County and much of Ventura County from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

“Further drying out from Wednesday morning into the afternoon and sustained gusty and potentially damaging winds are likely to support 6 hours or more of critical fire weather conditions during the warning period,” the weather service said.

Meteorologists warned of damaging winds from the northeast with gusts of 55 to 75 mph in wind-prone mountains.

Winds are expected to be strongest Tuesday night through early Wednesday afternoon. Relative humidity levels of at least 8% to 18% are expected from Wednesday morning until early evening.

“If an ignition occurs, there could be a rapid spread of wildfire that would pose a threat to life and property,” weather forecasters said.

The weather service has also issued a strong wind warning for Tuesday 7 p.m. to Wednesday 7 p.m.

NE winds of 30 to 40 mph and gusts up to 65 mph are expected in the mountains of Ventura and LA, weather forecasters said.

The forecast for Saturday’s wind event is still evolving, but models show wind speeds could be 5 to 10 miles per hour slower than Santa Ana winds on Wednesday.

Though winds could be weaker over the weekend, they’re still a risk, weather forecasters said.

Residents should avoid using devices such as weed killers, driving vehicles over dry grass, or avoiding activities that could cause sparks, Phillips said.

High winds and dry air send sparks significantly farther than normal, increasing the risk of fire outbreaks, she said.

A strong wind warning is also in effect from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 10 p.m. Wednesday for the valleys of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the Inland Empire, the mountains of San Bernardino County, the mountains and foothills of Santa Ana, and the inland areas of Orange County, the bureau said of the San Diego Weather Service.

Northeasterly winds of 25 to 35 mph are expected with gusts up to 60 mph, the weather service said. Gusts of up to 70 mph are possible below Cajon Pass and near the coastal foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains.

No red flag warning was issued for the Inland Empire or Orange County.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-11-15/santa-ana-winds-will-raise-fire-risk-in-southern-california Santa Ana winds will raise fire risk in Southern California

Alley Einstein

Alley Einstein is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Alley Einstein joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing Alley@ustimespost.com.

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