Red Flag Warning issued for SoCal mountains and canyons

Los Angeles County sent extra fire trucks to Malibu on Sunday, as Santa Ana winds of 70 miles per hour were forecast, and a Red Flag Warning posted for the mountains and canyons.

National Weather Service forecasters said winds might peak at 70 miles per hour on mountaintops, and in the canyons, from the Hollywood Hills west through the Santa Monica Mountains.

The Santa Clarita Valley, including the tangle of freeways in the Newhall pass, was also predicted to see maximum wind gusts above 60 miles per hour, the NWS said.

Temperatures above 80 degrees were also in the cards, and the desert air being compressed through the mountains would drop the humidity to below 10 percent, the forecasters said.

"Given this combination of strong offshore winds and low relative humidity, critical fire weather conditions are expected for most of Ventura and Los Angeles counties,'' the NWS said in a statement issued at 9 a.m.

In the morning, the NWS elevated the conditions from a fire watch to a full-fledged Red Flag Warning to take effect at 6 p.m. tonight, and at midafternoon the forecasters advanced the Red Flag Warning start time to "now.''

The warning remains in effect through 6 p.m. Monday.

County firefighters said an additional strike team -- five fire trucks, 25 firefighters and a battalion commander -- were being sent to Malibu. And extra crews were being called in today to fully staff all of the fire department's water trucks.

Maximum gusts of 70 miles per hour were predicted for the hills, and 50 mph maximum gusts for the flatlands of the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles area south of the Hollywood Hills.

In Los Angeles, the city fire department did not invoke red flag parking rules to restrict parking on narrow hillside streets in the Hollywood Hills.

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