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Extremely critical fire weather will continue Thursday in Southern California

Forecast fire danger for Thursday in Southern California
(Paul Duginski / Los Angeles Times)

Extremely critical fire weather will continue Thursday in Los Angeles and Ventura counties and particularly in the mountains of Southern California, the National Weather Service said.

Red-flag warnings, which expired late Wednesday in Northern California, will remain in effect through Thursday for much of the southern part of the state as strong Santa Ana winds continue.

Some population centers under extreme fire danger Thursday include Oxnard, Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley and Inglewood, according to the National Weather Service. Among places listed at critical risk are Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Riverside and Chula Vista.

Weather conditions will remain clear and windy with below-normal temperatures through the end of the week.

Some 800 firefighters battled the wind-whipped Easy fire surrounding the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. They were stymied by intense gusts that sent embers flying far beyond the body of the blaze.
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Cold overnight temperatures will bolster the large surface high to the east, jacking up the pressure gradient and strengthening the offshore flow in Southern California on Thursday morning. Wind gusts are expected to be 40 to 60 mph, with isolated gusts up to 70 mph. Humidity readings will hover in the single digits — as low as 1% to 2% in some spots.

Such prolonged periods of dry weather, combined with strong winds, make for explosively dangerous, erratic fire conditions.

The night and morning hours Friday and Saturday will continue to be dry with breezy offshore winds. Wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph are possible in the mountains and other wind-prone areas, and red-flag warnings may be extended in parts of the L.A. and Ventura county mountains and valleys.

Forecasters said no Santa Ana winds are expected next week.

As the Easy fire burned in Simi Valley, the winds hit 60 mph. Overhead, helicopters were seen dousing the fire below, and two “super scooper” planes unleashed a flood.

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