Red flag warning heightens brush fire fears


The worry over possible brush fires intensified Thursday when weather officials issued a red flag warning about high winds and low humidity forecast for the Santa Clarita Valley.

The red flag warning remains in effect until Friday at 6 p.m.

What it means is that critical fire weather conditions are occurring – or are about to occur – that involve high winds, low humidity and warm temperatures.

Winds expected for the Santa Clarita Valley are from the north and northwest 20 to 30 miles per hour, gusting to 40 mph.

Humidity for the area is described by officials at the National Weather Service office in Oxnard as between five and 15 percent with “poor overnight recovery,” meaning a poor chance of higher humidity.

On the weather service website, the implications of a red flag warning are “if fire ignition occurs then conditions are favorable for extreme fire behavior which could threaten life and property.”

As red flag conditions intensified in the Santa Clarita Valley these past couple of days firefighters already responded to at least two small brush fires whipped up by the winds.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded about 10:45 p.m. Wednesday to a brush fire near the northbound lanes of Highway 14 near Escondido Canyon Road, Fire Department spokeswoman Vanessa Lozano said.

“This was a brush fire about 100 feet from the road, in the canyon,” she said.

Firefighting units including a bulldozer unit was dispatched to the fire.

It burned an area described as 100 foot square, with the fire knocked down by 11:12 p.m., she said.

A second unrelated brush fire broke out in the Newhall Pass shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday, near the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 and Highway 14.

The fire was extinguished within a half hour, Lozano said.  It burned about a quarter acre of brush.


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