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Santa Ana winds bring fire warning

Sheriff's Department reports no problems in SCV due to winds Friday morning

Posted: October 26, 2012 10:36 a.m.
Updated: October 26, 2012 10:36 a.m.

Firefighters were on alert throughout Southern California on Friday as hot, dry Santa Ana winds brought a second day of high fire danger to Southern California.

No problems were reported as of Friday morning, but the National Weather Service said winds could gust to 65 mph into Saturday in the mountains and valleys. Gusts of 64 mph at Whitaker Peak and 57 mph in the Malibu Hills were recorded early Friday morning.

The Santa Clarita Valley was under both high-wind and red-flag warnings issued around 9 a.m. A spokesman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station said no problems had been reported in the valley as of 10:30 a.m.

Red flag warnings, which mean high fire danger, were up in many areas because the winds, low humidity and high temperatures "will create explosive fire growth potential," a weather service statement said.

A fire in the Centre Pointe area of Santa Clarita was held to just 5 acres Thursday due to quick response by Los Angeles County Fire Department forces, including water-dropping helicopters, two Super Scoopers and a sky crane. Winds were gusting at just 15 mph during the fire fight.

High temperatures were forecast at 78 degrees for today and into the 80s around the Santa Clarita Valley through the weekend.

The state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said it was positioning additional fire engines, bulldozers, fire crews and aircraft in strategic locations.

Recent significant rain in California helped much of the northern and central areas of the state, but the south remains dry and has the potential for large fires, CalFire Director Ken Pimlott said in a statement.

The Santa Anas, the withering gusts of dry air that suck the moisture out of vegetation and can whip flames into conflagrations, arrived Thursday night after a north wind blowing across the regions shifted to the northeast.

Santa Ana winds are spawned by high pressure over the Great Basin. Descending cold, dry air flows in a clockwise direction across the high desert, then speeds up and warms as it descends through Southern California's mountain passes and canyons and sweeps out to sea. That has often spelled fire trouble for foothill- and wildland-adjacent communities.



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