Powerful Santa Ana winds combined with potentially record-breaking temperatures will create extreme fire danger Wednesday across a tinder-dry Southland, officials warned.
Temperatures in Los Angeles County will range from near 90 degrees at the beaches to possibly 100 degrees inland, according to the National Weather Service. Meanwhile, damaging wind gusts from 60 to 75 mph are expected in Los Angeles County mountain areas and the Santa Clarita Valley, prompting red flag warnings across much of the region, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In response, the Los Angeles Fire Department announced that extra crews would be deployed in brush areas beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday and be on duty for at least 24 hours, depending on weather conditions.
The crews are scheduled to staff 21 additional fire engines and five lightweight brush patrol vehicles, among other units. The firefighters will work at stations in areas including the Hollywood Hills, Shadow Hills and Bel Air, the LAFD said.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is also placing additional crews and equipment on alert to respond aggressively to any blazes that break out, agency officials said.
"The drought has set the stage for a very dry and potentially dangerous fire season," Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said.
The high temperatures also prompted calls from officials to keep an eye on children and seniors, who can be susceptible to heat stroke and other complications. Authorities also advised against leaving pets or children in vehicles, even briefly with windows cracked open, because temperatures can soar inside in just minutes.
There will be little relief from the heat Thursday, with temperatures across the region expected to be largely as high as Wednesday's. Winds, however, should start to subside, the weather service said.
Not until Friday will temperatures start to decline, with highs from the upper-60s to low-70s at the beaches in Los Angeles County and around the mid-80s inland.
Conditions will cool off even more over the weekend, with daytime highs expected in the mid-60s at the beaches and mid-70s inland, according to the weather service.
-- Robert J. Lopez and Jason Wells, Los Angeles Times