LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A red flag warning is now in effect through Friday evening for much of Southern California as strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity combine to create perfect conditions for potential wildfires.
Peak wind gusts are expected to happen between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday with gusts up to 75 mph in the Santa Monica and Los Angeles County mountains and the Angeles National Forest. Gusts of up to 55 mph are expected in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and in the Ventura County mountains and coasts.
Gusts of up to 50 mph are expected in the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles coastal plains — including downtown L.A. — the Inland Empire, San Bernardino and Riverside County mountains.
Officials with Southern California Edison and area fire departments prepared overnight as winds moved into the area. Workers with SCE monitored the need for potential public safety power shutoffs that could impact more than 170,000 residents as fire departments dispatched strike teams to the most fire prone areas of the region — including Malibu, which just last year was devastated by the Woolsey fire, Calabasas and Santa Clarita.
Los Angeles police encouraged homeless residents living in fire prone encampments to leave in order to reduce the risk of fires starting and will begin enforcement of red flag parking restrictions later in the morning to ensure roads are clear for emergency crews and possible evacuations.
In Ventura County, Fillmore Unified School District canceled classes and school activities for Thursday and Friday and moved its football game against Hueneme High to Saturday at Flashes Field. In LA County’s Santa Clarita Valley, minimum day schedules will be in effect for all schools in the Sulphur School District and for several schools in the William S. Hart School District.
About 65 residents in Kern County remained without power overnight after SCE determined the fire risk was high enough in the area to shut off the power. Communities impacted included Horse Canyon and Bird Spring Canyon
The winds are expected to weaken slightly on Friday and throughout the weekend.