Hot and dry: Weekend weather may give rise to dangerous fire conditions

People walk a trail along a charred landscape burned by a wildfire.
At least 20 homes in Laguna Niguel were destroyed by a brush fire that was fueled by winds and dry conditions caused by California’s intense drought. Weekend temperatures are expected to soar.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

A warming trend will continue across Southern California on Friday and into the weekend, and the skyrocketing temperatures are bringing dangerous fire conditions, forecasters warned.

Although winds are much weaker than during the middle of the week, gusts of 20 to 30 mph are expected in the valleys and 40 to 45 mph in the mountains, officials said. And humidity levels are continuing to drop, the National Weather Service reported.

“What we’re seeing is elevated to brief critical fire weather conditions for a couple days, mainly in the inland, foothill areas, mountains and Santa Clarita valleys, with some gusty winds at times,” said Joe Sirard, a meteorologist with the weather service based in Oxnard.


The weather service issued a high-wind warning for the eastern range of the Santa Ynez Mountains, where damaging gusts of up to 65 mph could blow down larger objects.

Wind advisories also are in effect for the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with winds gusting up to 55 mph.

Temperatures are expected to soar into the 80s and 90s in most regions across Southern California on Friday. Los Angeles is expected to peak at 86 degrees Friday, while Orange County and the San Fernando Valley are slated to reach 89 and 94 degrees, respectively.

Temperatures will gradually heat up heading into the weekend.

May 12, 2022

The heat wave comes after cooler conditions earlier this week that were fueled, in part, by strong offshore winds. The gusts whipped a small brush fire in Laguna Niguel into a fast-moving conflagration that ultimately destroyed 20 multimillion-dollar homes Wednesday. Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg Barta said the fire spread through dry brush that had been parched by California’s drought and the wind helped spread embers across the exclusive beachside neighborhood.

Sunny and clear skies are expected Friday and Saturday across Southern California, with Saturday likely to have the hottest temperatures. They are expected to slightly cool Sunday.