Santa Ana winds, hot weather prompt fire agencies to beef up crews

An L.A. County Fire Department helicopter drops water on the Colby fire above Glendora in January. The department and other agencies are bracing for fire weather this week.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
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Fire agencies in Southern California are beefing up crews and pre-positioning equipment in wilderness areas because of Santa Ana winds and hot weather expected to last for several days.

The dry northeast winds, along with dangerously low relative humidity and temperatures near 100 degrees in some areas, are being forecast for inland and mountain areas across the region, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency on Monday issued red-flag fire warnings, high-wind warnings and heat advisories from Ventura to San Diego counties.


The U.S. Forest Service said Monday that it has assigned 24-hour staffing for crews on more than two dozen fire engine and lightweight brush patrol vehicles across the Angeles National Forest.

On Monday, Los Angeles County transportation officials said some roads were being closed in the Angeles National Forest because of the fire danger.

Roads being shut down include Glendora Mountain and Mount Badly. For a map of the closures, which are expected to last through Tuesday and Wednesday, see the Department of Public Works website.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department has more than 70 additional firefighters on duty across the country, Inspector Tony Akins said. The department also has pre-positioned extra fire engines, brush patrol vehicles and water tender trucks in Agoura Hills and Malibu.

Akins said a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection strike team has been assigned to county Fire Station 126 in Santa Clarita.

The Ventura County Fire Department has beefed up its initial response to all brush fires so that crews have a better chance of knocking down flames before they spread. The agency has assigned an extra water tender and helicopter to all wildland fire calls, Capt. Mike Lindbery said.


“We want to get on it quick and get a line around it as fast as we can,” he said.

The National Weather Service said Santa Ana wind gusts of 30 mph are likely Tuesday morning. The hottest weather is expected from Tuesday through Thursday with temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above normal, the agency said.

On Monday afternoon, downtown Los Angeles was 90 degrees, Woodland Hills was 92 and and Pasadena was 91, the Weather Service said.

Along the coast, Redondo Beach reached 85 degrees and the Santa Monica Pier hit 76 degrees. Long Beach Airport recorded a high of 93 degrees.

Record highs for the day were recorded in Orange County at Laguna Beach, which reached 88 degrees. That broke a record of 85 degrees set in 2002, the Weather Service said.

In Ventura County, Oxnard topped out at 90 degrees, breaking a daily record of 83 degrees set in 1937 and 1996. Camarillo Airport reached 92 degrees, breaking by 6 degrees a record for the day set last year, according to the Weather Service.