SANTA MONICA, CA – High temperatures and dry winds are expected to hit southern California on Wednesday, threatening power outages for thousands across the region and increasing the potential for wildfire in time for Thanksgiving. The possibility of high winds in Santa Ana caused officials to issue a red flag for much of Southland.
The red flag warning will persist from Wednesday 10 a.m. to Friday 6 p.m., the National Weather Service said.
The extreme weather will increase the potential for new forest fires.
“A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior,” said officials from the weather service.
The warning comes when Southern California Edison announced that approximately 98,705 customers in Southern California could be without power between Wednesday and Friday. Public safety power cuts are issued to avert the risk of fire from potentially failed power lines.
You can check SoCal Edison’s PSPS website here to see if your home is being considered for shutdown.
The warning applies to parts of the San Bernardino Mountains, Riverside County Mountains, Santa Ana Mountains, Los Angeles County, Ventura County, the Inland Empire, San Diego County, Inland Orange County, and the San Gorgonio Pass, officials said.
Residents living in the named areas can expect winds of 20 to 80 miles per hour in Santa Ana. Those living below the Cajon, Santa Ana, and San Gorgonio passes can see isolated gusts of up to 60 miles per hour.
The wind is expected to be strongest from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning. The National Weather Services advised Santa Monica residents that any fires that break out are likely to spread quickly, and residents have been advised to light campfires, refrain from using mowing, weeding or welding equipment, and shoot targets in the Driving near dry grass or smoking in areas with dry vegetation.
In 2021, approximately 8,367 forest fires charred 3,083,507 acres in California. Three people were killed in forest fires and 3,629 buildings were destroyed this year.
In addition, forest fires triggered by lightning killed thousands of giant sequoia trees this year, adding up to a staggering two-year number that is up to nearly a fifth of the largest trees on earth, officials said in a previous interview.
Fires in Sequoia National Park and the surrounding Sequoia National Forest ripped through more than a third of California’s groves, setting off an estimated 2,261 to 3,637 sequoias, the largest trees by volume.
Patch Editor Kat Schuster and The Associated Press contributed to this report.