By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Increased fire danger is expected as Santa Ana winds return to the Southland Wednesday, continuing into Thursday.

A red flag warning of severe wildfire threats will start at 8 a.m. Wednesday until noon Thursday for the Angeles National Forest, the coastal region stretching into downtown Los Angeles and the Santa Clarita, San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Los Angeles County Mountains.

“Gusty Santa Ana winds are expected to increase rapidly across Los Angeles and Ventura counties earlier Wednesday morning, then peak in strength Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday night when wind gusts of 40 to 60 mph are expected across wind-favored areas,” according to the National Weather Service. “Humidity levels are expected to fall to around 15 percent by mid-morning Wednesday in downslope areas, with widespread drying down to 3 to 10 percent Wednesday afternoon into Thursday morning.”

The Santa Ana winds combined with low humidity levels will create dangerous fire conditions. Forecasters said there is a potential for rapid fire spread should a blaze erupt, along with extreme fire behavior.

“This is the time to get set with assembling your emergency supply kit and knowing your evacuation route,” the National Weather Service added.

Large parts of Orange County will also be under a red flag warning during the same hours. Wind gusts are expected to reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour in the Santa Ana Mountain canyons.

Whenever high winds are forecast, Southern California Edison customers in affected areas could potentially have their power temporarily turned off in an effort to prevent energized electrical lines damaged by strong wind gusts and possibly sparking wildfires.

Customers can check to see if they are facing a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff by visiting the utility’s website here.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)