A Red Flag warning has been issued in California and has been extended till 8 AM PST Saturday due to the possibility of gusty winds and low humidity creating high fire risk in and near the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County.
The US National Weather Service has stated that a consistent and strong Santa Ana wind, with speed up to 80 mph, will lead to extreme fire weather conditions through Friday. A Red Flag warning in the US stands for a forecast of ideal climate for wildland fire and its rapid spread and is meant to inform firefighters and land management agencies to be extremely alert and cautious.
"A long-lived and strong Santa Ana wind with gusts to 80 mph and very low humidity will keep fire weather conditions extreme to critical through Friday. Lake Effect Snows and gusty winds across the Great Lakes may produce up to 20 inches of snow. A strong upper-level system will produce several inches of snow in portions of west Texas along the Mexico border," says the US National Weather Service website.
Gusts of wind between 30 to 40 mph are expected throughout Saturday in the hills and canyons, with 40 to 50 mph winds blowing through Thursday. The relative humidity will be around five to ten percent, increasing the probability of fires manifold. The US National Weather Service states that if a fire breaks out, it will spread very quickly with long-range spotting and extreme danger to life and property.
The US Government has urged residents to exercise high caution while handling fire ignition sources. Cal Fire has issued a warning and stated precautionary measures, like caution with land mowers, campfires and combustible materials like cigarettes, dry leaves, etc. Residents have been urged not to pull over in areas with dry grass and to make sure that things like trailer chains do not drag on the ground.
Southern California is already dealing with several wildfires and the current warning status makes it probable that the region will not get a respite from fire danger soon. According to weather predictions, the winds are expected to strike the I-5 corridor near the Grapevine first. The red alert had been issued last Sunday night, with high-wind warnings set in place now.
The area near Porter Ranch has been experiencing strong wind and critical weather since Monday, with very cold temperatures. The SoCal fire department is working diligently to respond to fire alerts as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, the Thomas Fire is causing thousands of evacuations and road closures in California's Santa Paula area. By Wednesday evening, the wildfire had burnt around 90,000 acres in the area from Santa Paula to the Pacific Ocean, which is more than ten miles of distance.