By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Winter started to warm up Thursday in Los Angeles, raising the risk for wildfires as Santa Ana winds returned, leading to gusty and dry conditions.

Starting Wednesday afternoon, winds began building in some areas, including the western San Fernando Valley, where gusts of 35 to 45 miles per hour were reported, according to the National Weather Service.

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A red flag warning of critical fire danger conditions took effect at 4 p.m. Thursday and will remain in force until 4 p.m. Friday for the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, Los Angeles County mountains, Angeles National Forest and the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys.

A separate red flag warning will also be in place during the same hours in inland Orange County and the Santa Ana mountains.

“North to northeast winds will continue over Los Angeles and Ventura Counties through Friday with decreasing humidities through Friday,” according to the N.W.S. “Along with persistently dry fuels, this combination of wind and humidity will result in critical fire weather conditions over the valleys and mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with a chance of needing to be extended into Saturday.”

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The dry conditions are expected to continue into at least Saturday.

Wind gusts of 30 to 50 m.p.h. are anticipated across much of the affected areas, with humidity dropping to between 8 percent and 15 percent, said N.W.S.

Forecasters said winds are expected to die down Saturday night through Sunday, but they could pick up again Monday through Tuesday, even into Wednesday.

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