Heat, Wind, Low Humidity Create Fire Danger in SoCal

"With 100 percent of California in a drought, the hot, dry and windy conditions will create extreme fire danger across our area. Any fires that start will spread rapidly," Egger said.

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    Strong gusts blowing through the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County on Wednesday resulted in brush and house fires as well as downed trees, power lines and traffic lights. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Simi Valley for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (Published Thursday, May 1, 2014)

    The unrelenting heat has Southern Californians on alert in the face of fires and high winds.

    A red flag warning went into effect at 2 a.m. Wednesday and will continue until 8 p.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). A wind advisory is also in effect until 3 p.m. Thursday.

    AM Forecast: Hot, Dry and Windy

    [LA] AM Forecast: Hot, Dry and Windy
    Red flag warnings and wind advisories are in effect through Thursday. Crystal Egger has the forecast for Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (Published Wednesday, April 30, 2014)

    Fires broke out across the region Wednesday, including a fast-moving blaze that had reached 1,000 acres by 5 p.m. near Rancho Cucamonga, and a blaze that broke out near a Newport Beach car dealership.

    Winds Knock Down Massive Tree

    [LA] Winds Knock Down Massive Tree
    A 75-foot pine tree snapped and fell on a home and power lines Tuesday. Jacob Rascon reports from Chino for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. (Published Thursday, May 1, 2014)

    Winds were expected to be strongest Wednesday morning through the afternoon, with “damaging” wind gusts in the mountains and valleys in the 60 to 80 mph range, according to the NWS.

    Those winds forced the closure of several Southern California theme park rides, including at Knott's Berry Farm, Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Six Flags Magic Mountain.

    One woman's car door hinge snapped when wind gusts blew against it as she opened her door in a parking lot, and some trees were yanked out from under the ground.

    "The ingredients are coming together for damaging Santa Ana wind gusts over 60 mph today. Secure any loose outdoor items early, as winds will be peaking through the afternoon," NBC4 meteorologist Crystal Egger said.

    The windy conditions, combined with temperatures in the 90s and low humidity, created wildfire conditions that are expected to continue through Thursday.

    "If fire ignition occurs there could be rapid spread of wildfire that would lead to a threat to life and property," according to the NWS.

    The red flag warning was issued for the Santa Monica Mountains, Los Angeles County mountains, Angeles National Forest, coastal areas, Orange County and the Santa Clarita, San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys.

    "With 100 percent of California in a drought, the hot, dry and windy conditions will create extreme fire danger across our area. Any fires that start will spread rapidly," Egger said.

    Red Flag parking restrictions are in place in Pasadena and Los Angeles.

    Due to the strong winds, drivers are advised to use extra caution and be prepared for sudden gusty cross winds. Driving high profile vehicles may be especially difficult along the Pacific Coast Highway as well as through the Sepulveda Pass.

    Strong winds were reported inland near Chino Tuesday. A 75-foot tree snapped and leaned against a home and power lines.

    Temperatures could reach 100 degrees in a few locations later this week, with the valley and inland areas feeling the worst of it.

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