Santa Ana winds increase fire danger in parts of Southern California

Fierce Santa Ana winds prompt red-flag fire warning for L.A. and Ventura counties

Fierce Santa Ana winds blowing across Los Angeles and Ventura counties Sunday have sparked concern about increased fire danger in the region.

The National Weather Service issued a red-flag fire warning for the two counties through 8 p.m. Monday, stressing that "strong dusty winds and low relative humidity form a combination that allows for explosive growth of fires," according to meteorologist David Sweet.

Winds could reach 45 miles per hour in some areas with gusts near 70 mph, though they are expected to decrease Sunday night before kicking up again Monday, Sweet said.

About 10:30 a.m. Sunday, winds of 45 mph were reported in some areas of Los Angeles County, including 47 mph at the Newhall Pass. In Ventura County, winds reached 47 mph in Camarillo and 39 mph at Point Mugu.  

Relative humidity is expected to drop throughout the region to 15% or lower by late Sunday afternoon.

Several regions were excluded from Sunday's fire warnings, including the Antelope and San Gabriel valleys as well as the coastal area of L.A. County.

"This is Santa Ana season -- the result of high pressure over Nevada and lower pressure over the California coast," Sweet said. He advises residents to secure light patio furniture and all garbage bins.

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