O.C. fire danger raised from ‘watch’ to ‘warning’

12 Mar

Gusty winds and dry conditions will keep firefighters on alert Wednesday, fire officials said, after a red-flag warning was issued for Orange County.

The National Weather Service issued the red-flag warning Tuesday afternoon for Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, noting that humidity could drop below 15 percent Wednesday.

The Weather Service issues a red-flag warning when weather conditions – such as strong winds, high temperatures and low humidity – increase the chance of brush fires.

Fire agencies monitor the warnings and often increase staffing on red-flag days.

The increased fire danger is expected to last from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m Wednesday, according to the Weather Service.

In Orange County, officials expected dry and windy conditions, especially in coastal areas, the Santa Ana Mountains and the foothills, Concialdi said.

Temperatures are expected to be in the 80s in inland areas, according to the Weather Service.

In Irvine, wind gusts are expected to reach 50 mph. The canyons will see stronger winds.

Silverado Canyon residents, for example, are expected to see wind speeds of 30 to 40 mph. Gusts will reach up to 65 mph.

The 22-member hand crew will be prepared to respond immediately to any fires, while two helicopters will be fully staffed and available beginning at 6 a.m. Wednesday, several hours before they are normally available.

“The winds will be kicking up early,” Concialdi said.

According to the Weather Service, winds will calm by Wednesday night.

Staff writer Sean Emery contributed to this report.



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