Wildfire Risks Increases in Valley, Inland Areas

(Excerpt from Los Angeles Times 7/23/22)

Hotter temperatures, lower humidity and strong winds that began Friday will increase the risk for wildfires in Los Angeles County’s inland, valley and mountain areas, according to the National Weather Service.

Wind gusts are expected to reach 40 to 45 mph in the western San Gabriel Mountains from the Tejon Pass to Lake Hughes, according to the National Weather Service. The agency issued a red flag warning for critical fire conditions across the region starting at 1 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. on Saturday.

“People in SoCal who live in the valleys, foothills and mountains need to be on alert that if something could start and spread quickly it could impact them,” said weather service meteorologist Rich Thompson.

Strong winds will dry out vegetation and drive down the humidity to between 6% and 12% in these areas, officials said.Temperatures will range from the 90s to around 105 degrees Saturday in lower mountain elevations and across the Antelope Valley. Thompson said people should be aware of ignition sources, including sparks from welding equipment and other machinery, unattended campfires and unsecured items that could be dragged from a vehicle and generate sparks.

Having a “go bag” ready with all the essentials in case a fire threatens homes is also a good idea, Thompson said.“We always say, ‘Ready, set, go,’ in case a fire does develop. Have that bag just so you’re ready to go,” he said.

The winds are expected to die down by late Saturday morning, with slightly cooler temperatures and chances for monsoonal moisture starting in the deserts and mountains Sunday.