Wildfires scorch SoCal as Santa Ana Winds increase danger

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Yesterday, the National Weather Service launched a red flag alert for most of southern California, saying that strong wins and low humidity meant high danger of wildfires.

Now, it seems that their prediction has come true. Several wildfires exploded through southern California yesterday, and today fire departments are struggling to contain them.

In Santa Clarita, the Rye Fire is now estimated at 200 acres, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The Golden State (5) Freeway has been closed in both directions close to State Route 126. The Rye Fire broke out this morning at about 9:30 a.m. in the 25000 block of Rye Canyon Loop.

In the Kagel Canyon area, above Sylmar, a blaze erupted at about 3:42 a.m. this morning. Since then, it has burned 4,000 acres and forced the evacuation of the area north of the Foothill (210) Freeway from Glenoaks Boulevard on the west to the border with the city of La Crescenta on the east. The 210 Freeway has been closed in both directions between the
5 Freeway on the west and Sunland Boulevard on the east.

Ventura County is currently fighting the Thomas Fire, which has devastated more than 45,000 acres near Santa Paula and Ventura. The Los Angeles County and Orange County fire departments have sent teams to assist. Mandatory evacuations are in place throughout the county.

But the danger is far from over. Red flag warnings signifying the risk of wildfires will remain in effect until Thursday evening over nearly all of Los Angeles County.

Strong wind gusts were detected this morning, according to the NWS, including 70 miles per hour at Chilao in the San Gabriels, 54 mph in the Malibu Hills, 43 mph in Saugus in the Santa Clarita Valley, 45 mph at Burbank Airport, 34 in Altadena in the San Gabriel Valley, and 26 mph in the Antelope Valley.

The NWS warned in a statement that wind gusts of between 50 and 70 mph are likely today in the mountains, with 80-mph gusts possible.

”This will likely be the strongest and longest duration Santa Ana wind event we have seen so far this season,” which runs from late September through April, according to an NWS statement. “If fire ignition occurs, there will be the potential for very rapid fire spread … and extreme fire behavior.”

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