A red flag warning will be in place over much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties beginning Friday morning as strong Santa Ana winds descend on the region, weather officials said Wednesday.
The warning will remain in effect through 8 p.m. Saturday, likely bringing critical fire weather conditions amid low humidity and warm temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.
“That basically means dry, windy, and warmer,” the weather service’s Los Angeles office said in a tweet.
The wind event is expected to be moderate, with gusts peaking between 30 and 45 mph across most of the region and winds in some areas gusting around 55 mph. The strongest winds are expected to hit Friday morning and afternoon, forecasters said.
Meanwhile, temperatures are expected to climb into the late week, reaching between 80 and 90 degrees across the coast and into the valleys, and humidities are expected to be around 6-12%.
If a fire does ignite, the conditions will be ripe for flames to exhibit extreme behavior and spread rapidly, “which would threaten life and property,” the weather service said.
No red flag warnings have been issued by the weather service’s San Diego office, which covers Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. But officials said fire weather conditions will be nearly critical in the valleys, mountains and coastal foothills.
Santa Ana wind gusts in that region are forecast to reach 20-40 mph, while temperatures are expected to climb and relative humidity fall to 5-15%.
Crews are currently working to put out the Alisal Fire, which exploded amid strong winds Monday along the Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County. As of Wednesday afternoon, the blaze had scorched more than 15,400 acres, forcing the 101 Freeway to close through the area and triggering several evacuation orders.
Fixed-wing aircraft have been largely grounded during that firefight due to the danger posed by the winds. More than 1,300 firefighters were battling the blaze.