LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A red flag warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for much of the Southland, which has been hit with strong winds and high temperatures.

The warning will remain in effect in much of Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties until 8 p.m. Thursday.

Some of the areas affected included the Santa Monica and San Gabriel mountains; the Angeles National Forest; the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys; an area that runs from Malibu to the Hollywood Hills and includes beach cities, downtown L.A. and the rest of metropolitan Los Angeles.

“Santa Ana winds will continue through Thursday with some lull in the wind speeds through the evening hours,” according to the NWS. “Winds are expected to be slightly weaker Thursday through still quite strong with isolated gusts over 60 mph in the mountains. The strong Santa Ana winds will bring an extended period of extreme fire danger to Southern California.”

In the mountains, winds ranged from 30 to 35 mph with 70 mph gusts, according to the NWS. The winds were expected to lower to 25-35 mph with 60 mph gusts.

In the valleys and L.A.’s coastal zone, winds were in the 20 to 40 mph range, gusting to 60 mph.

The Los Angeles Fire Department sent extra firefighters and equipment to 10 stations serving Porter Ranch, Bel Air, Beverly Glen, the UCLA campus, Sun Valley, Shadow Hills, La Tuna Canyon, the Hollywood Hills, Encino, Woodland Hills, Sylmar, San Fernando, Laurel Canyon, Beverly Glen and West Hills, Chatsworth Lake and Canoga Park.

Red flag parking restrictions will be in place until 8 a.m. Thursday.

KCAL9’s Amy Johnson reported that the wind gusts made driving tough for those living in Santa Clarita.

Armida Mora struggled on her drive home from work.

“It’s very hard with an SUV…it keeps moving,” she said.

In Orange County, firefighters handled nearly 30 fires in the area, including a Newport Beach brush fire, a blaze at a new Irvine community called Portola Springs and an attic fire in Tustin that may have started by embers from another blaze, according to Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.

Residents also dealt with downed power lines and knocked down trees.

Winds in the Inland Empire downed palm trees, ripped off roof shingles and scattered various items on lawns and streets.

The fire conditions proved dangerous for truck drivers, as several big rigs toppled over.

Driver Albert Darden told CBS2’s Crystal Cruz he didn’t want his vehicle to be next.

“It scared me and that’s all it took,” he said. “It’s a heavy load here, and it almost felt like I was going to flip over.”

Fontana resident Lisa Hernandez said the wind and dust was worse Wednesday than in the past.

“The wind has actually been really, really super bad. You know, we’ve had some 80 mile an hour winds, it’s terrible. I can’t even open my car door sometimes,” she said.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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