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California Briefing / L.A. COUNTY

Santa Ana winds boost wildfire risk

October 12, 2008|Dan Weikel

The National Weather Service on Saturday issued red flag warnings for Los Angeles and Ventura counties as autumn's first Santa Ana winds increased the risk of wildfires in Southern California.

The warnings will be in effect today through Tuesday because forecasts call for an extended period of dry weather and strong northeast winds, a weather service spokesman said. Red flag warnings are issued when wind speeds reach 25 mph or greater and the relative humidity is 15% or less.

Meteorologists predict that the strongest winds will occur Monday and Tuesday mornings, when gusts up to 60 mph are possible in the mountains and foothills. Winds of 45 mph are expected below passes and canyons.

As a precaution, municipal and county fire departments have been monitoring the weather and positioning extra equipment and crews in areas where the fire risk is greatest.

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