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A fall heat wave is expected to grip Southern California for several days beginning Thursday, bringing along elevated fire danger.

Returning offshore winds and high pressure building to the east are responsible for the warmer, drier air mass moving into the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Near red flag conditions with afternoon temperatures in the 90s to 100s are expected for many inland locations.

The summer-like hot and dry weather will bring elevated to near critical fire conditions through the weekend, the NWS said.

Forecasters are predicting humidity levels will drop to between 5 and 15%.

Powerful northeast winds will also blow into the region with gusts of 30 to 45 mph, according to the the weather service.

Residents are urged to use extra caution with potential fire sources as conditions are in place for rapid fire growth.

A cooling trend is expected to begin early next week, with more fall-like conditions returning by midweek.