Sunday, November 28, 2021

Santa Ana winds carry critical fire hazard, red flag warning

While Santa Barbara County fires smoldering in Alisala, residents of Los Angeles and Ventura counties prepared for critical fire weather and the threat of Santa Ana winds on Friday.

A red flag warning The alarms for high temperatures, dry conditions and dire gusts of wind went into effect at 6 a.m. and were supposed to last until 8 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

This is the weather that firefighters fear the most: when a single spark can quickly turn into wildfire that is spiraling out of control. The region’s record-breaking summers and worsening drought only helped bake the state’s vegetation and prepare it for a fire.

Joe Sirard, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said “everyone is on high alert” as the wind picked up on Friday morning.

“We’ve already seen this happen with wildfires during the events in Santa Ana,” Sirard said. “If any fire breaks out, it can create extremely dangerous conditions with rapid spread and very intense activity.”

Santa Anas is expected to deliver gusts of 30 to 45 mph across a range of areas including the Malibu coast, the Santa Monica mountains and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, with sporadic gusts up to 55 mph, said he.

Most of the Los Angeles area is expected to rise to temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s, well above normal for this time of year, Sirard said. And the humidity was set to “drop like a stone” from 6% to 12%.

Officials said the red flag conditions were caused by increased sea flow under the high pressure system.

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Los Angeles County Fire Department advised residents to prepare their homes and families for the increased threat of fire. Preparation includes identifying escape routes, assembling emergency kits, and clearing vegetation and combustible materials away from homes and buildings.

Sirar said residents should also take care not to create any sparks, including the use of fireworks. (Luckily, the Dodgers won before the red flag warning came up.)

Wind events in Santa Ana can also trigger planned power outages, which are usually done to prevent utility equipment from catching fire.

Some jobs have already been shut down in the Bakersfield area, according to Pacific Gas & Electric. SoCal Edison customers were unharmed Friday morning.

Firefighters have made significant strides in eliminating the Alisal fire in Santa Barbara County, which was contained 41% on Friday after about 17,000 acres were burned since Monday.

Poor air quality related to the fire is expected to improve on Friday, according to the South Coast Air Quality Office.

The state was also threatened by several small fires this week, including a fire in Sacramento that destroyed 30 buildings and a fire near an oil refinery in Los Angeles.

But there is some good news on the horizon: extended forecast The Los Angeles area will have a “decent chance” of above normal rainfall next week, according to the Weather Service.

Forecasters said Southland just needs to get through the wind in Santa Ana first.

Nation World News Desk
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