Chilly overnight temperatures gave way to dry and windy conditions, leading to a red flag warning in force across much of Los Angeles County.
The elevated risk of wildfire is expected to continue into Friday evening for LA County. Expect gusty northeast winds and very low relative humidity over Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
The strongest winds are expected Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon with peak gusts generally between 30 and 40 mph. Forecasters said humidity levels are expected to remain below 10 percent across much of the area, especially in the mountains.
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"We do not want the public to be fooled by the decrease in temperature," said Ventura County Fire Capt. Scott Dettorre. "The wind is cold, but that does not mean that fire danger is not there."
The red flag warning will be in effect until 6 p.m. Friday for the Los Angeles County coastal area, which stretches into downtown Los Angeles, mountains, the Angeles National Forest, Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.
The Los Angeles Fire Department stepped up its staffing levels and deployed resources to areas considered more in danger of wildfires. The department moved engines from traditionally low-fire-risk areas to the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood Hills, while also augmenting staffing in Bel Air, Sylmar and West Hills.
The department also has a bulldozer team and a five-piece brush patrol strike team at the read in the San Fernando Valley, along with a pair of 2,500-gallon water tenders prepared at stations in Sun Valley and Sherman Oaks.
The dry and windy conditions are a stark change from the overnight chill that resulted in a hard freeze warning in the Antelope Valley, where temperatures lingered in the 20s. A hard freeze warning indicates that temperatures of 28 degrees Fahrenheit or less are expected for at least two consecutive hours.