Fire crews from San Diego responded to a red flag warning in Los Angeles County on Wednesday as officials prepared for an early fire season. Tena Ezzeddine reports from Santa Clarita for the NBC4 News at Noon on May 1, 2013.
A red flag warning, indicating increased wildfire danger, is in effect Wednesday morning for a widespread area as hot, dry and windy conditions move into Southern California.
Weather Page: Severe Weather Warnings
The warning is in effect until 5 p.m. Thursday for for mountains of Ventura and Los Angeles counties. The Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys are included in the warning.
"The flash fuel, the brush is drying out," said Los Angeles Fire Battalion Chief Carlos Calvillo. "That can get the brush in the higher canopies to ignite.
"These things accumulate and they add up. It puts us in the predicament we're in."
A red flag warning is scheduled to go into effect at 8 p.m. for the Santa Monica Mountain range. That warning is expected to expire at 5 p.m. Thursday, but warnings could be extended, if conditions warrant.
"These are unsual conditions for this time of year," said NBC4 forecaster Elita Loresca. "Usually we see these conditions in late summer or fall."
Santa Ana winds are forecast to pick up Wednesday morning, Loresca said. Wind gusts might reach 45 mph in mountain areas and 35 to 40 mph in valleys.
Record heat is possible in some inland areas.
Wednesday's Forecast Highs
Firefighters face similar conditions in the Northern California community of Healdsburg, where two small wildfires broke out in the wine country. State fire officials say the Yellow Fire in Sonoma County north of Calistoga began around 2 a.m. Wednesday and burned less than a quarter of a square mile. The Silverado Fire near Yountville in Napa County started a couple of hours earlier and has burned a little more than a tenth of a square mile.
State fire spokesman Daniel Berlant says neither fire is threatening structures. The causes are under investigation.