Fire Danger, High Winds to Persist Through Friday

Extra caution to avoid fire is suggested, say authorities, due to high winds, dry vegetation and unusually warm weather.

Gusty Santa Ana winds continued to batter the Southland Wednesday amid low humidity levels and rising temperatures, creating a third straight day of fire weather.

A red flag warning denoting a high risk of wildfire was originally expected to expire Wednesday night, but the national Weather Service extended the warning for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties until 3 p.m. Friday.

Forecasters said high pressure would continue to generate Santa Ana winds through Thursday before weakening Friday.

"The strongest winds will occur each day in the late morning through early evening hours," according to an NWS advisory. "Peak gusts near (the) 50 mph range are expected in the mountains, with gusts peaking to near (the) 40 mph range in the valleys."

Warm and dry conditions were also expected to persist.

"With such conditions, and historically dry fuels, red flag warnings have now been extended through Friday afternoon," according to the NWS.

The warning includes the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, Los Angeles County mountains, Angeles National Forest, coastal areas and the Santa Clarita, San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys.

Heavy winds continued to make life challenging for motorists on Interstate 5, Pearblossom Highway (state Route 138) near Gorman, Topanga Canyon Road, Malibu Canyon Road, Kanan Road and the Antelope Valley (14), Ventura (101), Simi Valley (118), Foothill (210) and San Diego (405) freeways, forecasters said.

Meanwhile, the heat continued for most of the area. The temperature reached 86 degrees at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, breaking the old record of 85 set in 1976. It reached the low-80s in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday, a sharp contrast from the usual temperature of 68 degrees.

- City News Service


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