Santa Ana winds subside in Southern California but not fire danger

Santa Ana winds subside in Southern California but not fire danger
A small blaze broke out Monday in Mission Hills, near the Los Angeles Reservoir. (KTLA-TV)

An elevated fire danger could remain in Southern California for at least two more days, weather forecasters say, after Santa Ana winds dried vegetation and fanned flames close to homes in Granada Hills.

The Santa Ana winds, which triggered alarming drops in humidity in some L.A. County locations — from 80% to 10% in a single hour Monday — are expected to die down through the remainder of the week, said John Dumas, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.


But the moisture lost will take days to recover, leaving timber, tall grass and mountainsides from San Diego to Ventura County hot and dry until at least Thursday.

"We're still using elevated fire danger," Dumas said.

Temperatures across Southern California will hover in the mid- to upper-80s with light wind Tuesday before the heat peaks on Wednesday, said Mark Moede, a Weather Service meteorologist in San Diego.

By then, a light ocean breeze should sweep over the landscape, replenishing moisture in the mountains, he said. Humidity levels typically take up to 48 hours to recover, he said.

"Things will get better for us," Dumas said.

On Monday, the Santa Anas acted like a blow-dryer across the Southland, drying out vegetation already parched by a fourth year of drought. When a spark is added, those winds turn into "a blow-dryer that blows flames," Moede said.

A 40-acre brush fire was sparked in Granada Hills when a resident's power tool sparked and ignited brush. He tried to use his jacket to douse the flames but they spread too quickly.

A handful of responders sustained non-life-threatening injuries with at least two taken to a hospital for evaluation, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Later in the day, a second fire near the 5 Freeway and Roxford Street in nearby Mission Hills burned two acres of grass before it was knocked down. No homes were threatened, officials said. The cause of that fire remained under investigation.

The heat could break records on Wednesday before subsiding Thursday, forecasters said.

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