Strong winds, rising temperatures expected through the week, increasing fire danger throughout Southern California – Orange County Register

Santa Ana winds are nothing new to Southern California, but the current spell is expected to last up to seven days instead of the usual one or two, area weather specialists said Tuesday, Dec. 5, as wind-aided wildfires ravaged the region.

Monday was dry — with humidity from the single digits into the teens — and blustery — with winds gusting up to 40 mph in the Greater Los Angeles area and upward of 60 mph in the canyons and passes. And it’s going to get worse on Thursday, said Brett Albright, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in San Diego.

“The duration of the winds and dryness is the biggest issue this time around,” he said. “We haven’t had any rain for the last eight months and now we’re having a prolonged period of winds. It’s a dangerous combination.”

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag alert, warning of wildfire dangers across Southern California through at least Friday, Albright said.

In addition to wind gusts increasing on Thursday, temperatures will be trending upward, and won’t help firefighters in Ventura who are battling the raging Creek Fire, he said. By Saturday, the region will see temperatures in the high-70s to mid-80s, Albright said.

He warned residents, particularly those in high-wind areas, to take precautions including tying down holiday decorations and other objects, not using power tools outdoors because they could create a spark and start a fire, and being wary of doing any type of activity that could set off a fire.

“We also advise drivers don’t drag their vehicles over dry grass or not to use flares if their vehicles break down,” Albright said.

He pointed out that the Canyon Fire in Corona in September began after Caltrans workers ignited flares on the 91 Freeway.

Southern California health departments also issued alerts, Tuesday, warning residents about unhealthy air. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued an alert saying East and West San Fernando Valley as well as coastal areas in northwest Los Angeles County will continue to experience unhealthy air quality due to smoke from the Creek Fire.

Officials are warning that throughout the county — especially in the San Fernando Valley, Lake View Terrace, Sylmar and surrounding areas, as well as coastal areas such as Malibu and Santa Monica — sensitive individuals with heart conditions or respiratory diseases should remain indoors.

Residents are discouraged from exercising outdoors. Many schools in…

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