Dangerous winds expected in Northern California fire areas

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(Paul Duginski / Los Angeles Times)

High-wind warnings are in effect for large swaths of Northern California, including the area of the Kincade fire, from Saturday evening through Sunday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

A dry, windy weather system moving south through the region will generate potentially damaging northerly to northeasterly Diablo winds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts to 60 mph. Locally, gusts up to 80 mph are possible below some ridgetops, the weather service said.

Red flag fire warnings are widespread in Northern California because of the strong winds and accompanying low humidity — conditions that would cause fire from any ignition source to spread rapidly.

(Paul Duginski / Los Angeles Times)

The Kincade fire in Sonoma County grew to 25,000 acres overnight and authorities ordered 50,000 more residents to leave their homes Saturday.

High winds can knock down trees or tree limbs and power lines. Widespread power outages are likely, and travel will be difficult, particularly for high-profile vehicles. Utilities were intentionally cutting power to hundreds of thousands of residents to lower the fire risk.

The wind warnings go into effect as early at 8 p.m. Saturday and extend to about midnight on Sunday, depending on location.

This is likely to be the strongest wind event this season and could be the strongest seen in years, forecasters say. Because locations outside the warning area may also be subject to wind advisories, authorities urge residents to be alert to changing conditions.

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