Red Flag warning issued countywide with ‘strongest’ winds of the season

Firefighters work to contain the Elsmere Fire in Newhall in August 2020. Bobby Block/The Signal
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Santa Clarita Valley residents should brace for the strongest winds of the season expected Sunday night through Tuesday, increasing the potential for extreme fire behavior, according to the National Weather Service. 

A red flag warning will be in effect for Los Angeles and Ventura counties from midnight Sunday through 6 p.m. Tuesday afternoon “for strong northeast winds and very low relative humidity” for the areas. 

“Strong Santa Ana winds are expected to develop across most of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties late Sunday night into Monday, likely the strongest and most widespread Santa Ana event we have seen so far this season,” read the warning. 

The strongest winds are expected Sunday night into midday Monday, when “damaging” gusts could reach anywhere between 60 to 80 mph in the mountain areas, up to 60 mph in the wind-prone valleys and gusts of 35 to 50 mph from the Ventura cost to the Hollywood Hills. 

In the SCV, wind gusts could range between 50 to 60 mph and see diminished activity Monday night into Tuesday morning with gusts generally 25 to 40 mph. 

Strong winds coupled with low humidities and dry fuels will likely bring critical fire weather conditions, according to the weather service. 

“New fire ignitions will have the potential for rapid fire growth, extreme fire behavior, and long-range spotting, resulting in a threat to life and property,” read the warning. 

Residents are urged to use “extreme caution” with potential fire ignition sources and have emergency supply kits ready, as well as have an evacuation plan. 

The red flag warning comes as Northern California will also be under a fire weather watch, amid a record-breaking fire season. This year, more than 4 million acres have burned by more than 8,200 wildfires, according to Cal Fire and the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. 

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