High fire danger continued Friday as a Red Flag warning remained in effect until 6 p.m. for the valleys and coastal areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Winds are expected to gust up to 30 mph through the early afternoon and relative humidity is expected to be low – about 3 to 8 percent – creating critical conditions in the Santa Clarita, San Fernando and Ventura County valleys, according to the National Weather Service.
The combination of winds, relative humidity, temperatures reaching into the 80s and no rain in the forecast are cause for concern regarding fire danger.
More than 1,000 firefighters were dispatched Thursday morning to battle a fire in the Angeles National Forest. The Colby Fire scorched 1,709 acres and destroyed five homes in its path, according to the LA County Fire Department. Seventeen other buildings were destroyed.
About 1,000 were evacuated and multiple schools were closed due to the fire. Residents evacuated from their Glendora homes were allowed to return as of 7 p.m. Thursday.
The fire broke out during one of the driest California winters ever recorded, and at a time when Southern California is on track to experience the driest January on record.
However, SoCal isn’t the only part of the state experiencing dry weather conditions.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a statewide drought emergency on Friday.
Los Angeles received 1.04 inches of rainfall between July 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013 – about 26 percent the average amount of precipitation, according to the Department of Water Resources California Data Exchange Center.
During the same time period in 2012, LA received 4.28 inches of rain – or 107 percent the average amount of precipitation.