A combination of heat, strong Santa Ana winds and extremely dry air will create “critical” fire danger Wednesday across Southern California, forecasters warned.
A red-flag warning is in effect through 9 p.m. Wednesday from Ventura County’s valleys to the Santa Monica Mountains, where winds could gust up to 50 mph as temperatures climb into the upper 80s or low 90s, according to the National Weather Service.
The mix of air, heat and wind means “rapid fire growth and extreme fire behavior should be expected if fire ignition occurs,” a weather advisory issued Wednesday morning said.
Already this year, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has fought 5,440 wildfires that have burned nearly 92,000 acres on state lands alone. About 1,000 fewer fires have been recorded at this point in a typical year, according to Cal Fire statistics.
Wednesday’s conditions are just the latest sign that California is on its way to a record-breaking year for weather. There’s a 99% chance that 2014 will be the state’s warmest year on record and among its driest, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor and National Weather Service.
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