Firefighters catch a break as winds drop, temps drop and humidity rises

The Tick Fire burns in the hills off of Sierra Highway in Canyon Country. Cory Rubin/The Signal

A shift in weather and wind conditions this weekend has fire officials concerned about the Tick Fire moving into the Angeles National Forest.

“We’re expecting a wind shift,” Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said at a news conference Friday morning. 

“So, we want to keep the fire in this footprint,” he said.

On Friday, officials with the National Weather Service lifted the high wind advisory posted Thursday.

High winds are one of three key elements considered in posting a red flag warning with regards to a heightened fire risk scenario. The other two elements are low humidity and high temperatures.

“The winds have pretty much died down and they are continuing to die,” Kristin Stewart, weather specialist for the National Weather Service, said late Friday afternoon.

The red flag warning was expected to be lifted Friday at 10 p.m., she said.

Beginning Saturday morning, the wind is forecast to shift to winds coming from the south and southwest, at sustained levels of 10 mph, gusting to between 20 and 30 mph.

The other two factors contributing to high fire risk are also expected to diminish, Stewart said.

“The humidity will rise a bit tomorrow,” she said Friday. “And the temperature (for SCV) is expected to drop 15 degrees Sunday.”

Santa Ana winds are expected to return to the SCV on Sunday night, Stewart said, warning that another red flag or high wind warning could be posted.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory Friday morning, reporting unhealthy air quality levels due to the Tick Fire.

Winds were predicted to be from the northeast throughout Friday, pushing smoke to the southwest toward Santa Clarita, Porter Ranch, Simi Valley, Calabasas and the San Fernando Valley. 

The anticipated wind shift Saturday morning prompted air quality officials to warn the shifting winds “will push smoke to the northeast towards Agua Dulce and Acton. If the fire continues to generate smoke on Friday and Saturday morning, impacts are expected in Santa Clarita and the San Fernando Valley.”

With the lifting of the high wind advisory comes the restoration of electrical power for some of the people living in areas where the power was purposely turned off by Southern California Edison officials worried about sparking brush fires.

Late Friday afternoon, power was restored to some of the areas that had been targeted for intentional blackouts, called Public Safety Power Shut off, including: Shadow Pines, Leona Valley, Lake Hughes and eastern parts of Canyon Country.

Power remained out for communities in Mint Canyon, Acton, Agua Dulce and Val Verde.

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