Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
World | By Camille Rivera

Santa Ana winds bring fire danger to Southern California

Santa Ana winds bring fire danger to Southern California

The warning goes into effect at 6 p.m. Sunday and extends until 6 a.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and San Diego Gas & Electric are both beefing up staffing levels this week to deal with the rare late-season fire danger.

Los Angeles County firefighters will send a strike team to the Malibu area Monday morning, putting five fire engines and about 25 firefighters into the heart of the fire-prone Santa Monica Mountains.

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And those crews may be on the clock for some time. The windy weather could persist into Friday or Saturday, forecasters said.

Fire officials said several years of drought coupled with heavy rains last winter created significant fire fuel in the form of underbrush and grass.

The combination of low humidity, high winds, and a lack of rainfall will increase the risk of wildfires.

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Meteorologists say relative humidity levels will plunge into the single digits and teens. The winds will blow 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 55 mph, and isolated gusts of 70 to 80 mph at a few of the county's highest peaks.

Winds will die down somewhat for Wednesday and Thursday, but intermittent strong gusts will still be possible. As the air moves downhill towards the coast, it becomes increasingly drier which will increase the threat of extreme fire behavior if any ignition occurs.

Stronger wind gusts are expected between Monday and Thursday, with the peak gusts of 50 to 70 miles per hour occurring Monday night and Tuesday - some of these will reach 80 miles per hour in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains.

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"Winds this strong may down trees and power lines, causing property damage or power outages".

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