Red flag warning issued in SoCal due to high winds, low humidity

- A red flag warning signifying a high risk of wildfire was in effect in L.A and Orange counties Friday because of strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity.

The National Weather Service had originally issued a fire weather watch for today and Saturday but yesterday upgraded it to a red flag warning for today.

Wind gusts of between 30 and 45 miles per hour are expected in L.A. and Ventura counties at the height of today's wind event amid humidity levels of 10-15 percent at lower elevations, according to an NWS statement. The humidity will increase Saturday and Sunday, it said, adding that an elevated fire danger will exist Saturday but below critical conditions associated with a red flag warning.

The red flag warning went into effect at 3 a.m. today and was scheduled to expire at 10 p.m. It was issued for the San Gabriel Mountains, the Angeles National Forest, the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area and forest and mountain areas of Ventura County. Northeast-to-east winds of 15 to 30 miles per hour with 45-mile-per-hour gusts are expected in mountain areas, along with to 45-mph gusts and humidity levels of 10-20 percent.

The red flag warning was also in force in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, L.A. County beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, Downtown L.A. and the Hollywood Hills, with winds of 10-25 mph forecast in those areas, along with 35-mph gusts and humidity levels of 10-15 percent, according to the NWS.

"If fire ignition occurs, conditions may be favorable for extreme fire behavior which would threaten life and property,'' warned the NWS statement.

No red flag warning was issued for the Antelope Valley. But a red Flag warning was in force in Orange County -- the coast, inland sections and the mountains -- from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m., with northeast-to-east winds of 15-30 mph expected, along with 45-mph gusts and a humidity level of 15 percent.

"Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly,'' warned the NWS in San Diego, from where Orange County weather is monitored. "Outdoor burning is not recommended.''

The NWS forecast sunny skies in L.A. County today and highs of 73 degrees on Mount Wilson; 79 in Palmdale; 80 in Avalon and Lancaster; 85 in Saugus; 86 at LAX; 87 in San Gabriel; 89 in Burbank and Downtown L.A.; 90 in Pasadena; and 91 in Long Beach and Woodland Hills. A slow cooling trend will begin Saturday.

Sunny skies are also in Orange County's forecast, along with highs of 67 on Santiago Peak; 76 in San Clemente; 80 in Laguna Beach and on Ortega Highway at the 2600-foot level; 83 in Newport Beach; 86 in Fremont Canyon; 89 in Anaheim and Trabuco Canyon; 90 in Irvine; and 91 in Yorba Linda, Fullerton
and Mission Viejo.  Temperatures will be about the same Saturday but begin dipping by several degrees on Sunday.

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