Two major wildfires were still burning in Riverside County late Monday, June 18, with a day of Red Flag weather still in store until the following night. Jacob Rascon reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on June 18, 2012.
A red flag warning will be in effect into Tuesday evening as firefighters continue to attack several wildfires in Southern California.
The warning, indicating high fire danger, will be in effect from noon Monday until 8 p.m. Tuesday. The National Weather Service said it issued the warning because of gusty winds and humidity levels of only 5-10 percent.
Temperatures in the mid-90s are likely Monday afternoon in the Palmdale and Lancaster areas. Wind speeds are expected to increase Monday afternoon. Strong gusts up to 50 mph are possible in the foothills and through and below Soledad Canyon, according to the National Weather Service.
Sustained gusts around 20 to 30 mph are possible.
Wind speeds will decrease overnight, but humidity levels will remain low.
The advisory comes as fire officials announced the start of fire season. It comes on the heels of a dry winter in which the statewide snowpack was only 40 percent of normal.
Between January and April, Cal Fire responded to over 800 wildfires, nearly 2 1/2 times the number in 2011 when there were about 300 fires.
Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott in May said firefighters across the state had responsed to nearly three times as many blazes as the previous year. The jump in the number of fires comes as Cal Fire and many Southern California fire agencies face budget cuts.
Cal Fire faces cuts in excess of $30 million in fiscal 2011-2012, the agency said in an online bulletin. The agency has cut fire personnel and equipment.
At a press conference in Diamond Bar on Monday, he urged residents to clear dry brush as defensible space around homes as required by law.
"We will bring the offense, but we expect you as homeowners and residents ... to bring the defense," he said. "That means do your part to prepare your homes and families for fire season."
Just this past weekend, crews responded to several wildfires in the Southern California region.
A 300-acre wildfire in Cottonwood Canyon in Cabazon was expected to be contained Monday night, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. The fire was reported at 9:15 p.m. Sunday near Desert View and Cottonwood roads.
No structures were damaged.
A 2,200-acre wildfire southeast of Beaumont is not expected to be contained until Tuesday morning, a county fire department spokeswoman said today. The blaze was 70 percent contained Sunday night and should be fully surrounded by 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Full control is expected by 6 p.m. Tuesday, said Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman Jody Hagemann.