The Tick fire that was burning out of control on Santa Clarita was being driven by powerful winds that caused the blaze to spread quickly and unpredictably.
The fire was pushing toward homes, thanks to winds of nearly 30 mph, hot temperatures and humidity hovering around just 6%, and there was no immediate relief in sight. Forecasters expected the winds to pick up through the evening and overnight, with gusts between 40 mph and 60 mph in the area of the blaze.
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Deadly fires in recent years have heightened concerns in California about the impacts of climate change. The same shift is happening in Australia.
A brush fire in Riverside grew quickly to 70 acres, prompting brief evacuation orders for 25 homes before a shift in winds.
Temperatures hovered in the high 80s and early 90s. The National Weather Service said wind gusts could top 60 mph.
Keily Delerme, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, said the hot conditions were causing the blaze to send up a large plume of smoke.
“That’s why the plume looks so impressive, because it’s very warm near the fire,” she said.
Temperatures were expected to be a little bit warmer on Friday, and low humidity was expected to persist.
“We’re not going to see that much humidity recovery overnight, which is what normally happens,” Delerme said.
The National Weather Service had issued a red flag warning for the area that was in effect through Friday evening. The weather conditions were expected to peak overnight Thursday and continue through the day on Friday.