Southern California

Dry Heat, Winds Combine for Risk of Increased Wildfire Danger

Gusty winds are expected to develop Tuesday in parts of Riverside County, partnering with low humidity to increase the wildfire danger.

A red flag warning -- denoting heightened risk of the spread of brush fires -- is to go into effect at 10 a.m. Wednesday and continue to 7 p.m, according to the National Weather Service.

"Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly," according to the warning, which stated that winds would peak Wednesday afternoon. The red flag warning followed an NWS wind advisory for the valleys around Riverside and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, which will take effect at 7 p.m. Tuesday and extend until 1 p.m. Thursday.

Winds of 15 mph to 25 mph -- with gusts up to 50 mph -- will be possible through the advisory period. The advisory did not extend to the Coachella Valley, where only light winds are in the forecast through Thursday.

Forecasters said periods of gusty east winds were also expected in the San Diego County valleys and in inland Orange County.

"Surface high pressure over the western plains into New Mexico will strengthen the easterly offshore flow across Southern California bringing periods of gusty east winds for the inland valleys and inland Orange County for tonight into Thursday," according to the weather service. "The strongest and most widespread winds are expected on Wednesday."

The gusty wind may kick up dust in some areas and could make for hazardous driving conditions, especially for motorists in high-profile vehicles. Forecasters advised drivers to use extra caution.

The winds were expected to diminish throughout the Inland Empire starting Wednesday night.

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