Threat of Wildfire Growing as SoCal Heat Wave Persists: Officials

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A punishing heat wave that brought record temperatures to California this week may be easing, but the risk of wildfire was expected to grow Thursday as a result of continued warmth, increased winds and lush ground cover, according to the National Weather Service.

Flames burn next to the Interstate 15 as the Blue Cut wildfire rages near Cajon Pass, north of San Bernardino on Aug. 16, 2016. (Credit: RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the weather service issued a red flag warning for parts of Northern California through Thursday afternoon. The warning includes the northern Sacramento Valley, where triple-digit heat, strong winds and low relative humidity have created a potent mix for fire.

In Southern California, conditions have yet to meet the threshold for a red flag warning, but the weather service did say the region should prepare for the increased risk of fire.

“While winds have been relatively light so far this week, onshore flow is expected to strengthen on Thursday,” read a statement from the Oxnard office of the NWS. “With this expected wind increase, continuing hot and dry conditions, and drying fuels/vegetation, the risk of extreme fire behavior will be on the rise.”

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