Southern California: Elevated fire danger remains this week despite less wind
By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 11, 2017, 3:06:07 PM EST
Locally windy conditions will keep the fire danger elevated across Southern California through Thursday as air quality concerns mount.
The strongest and most prolonged Santa Ana wind event so far this season fanned the massive blazes that have forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate, killed dozens of horses and destroyed more than 800 buildings.
One death has been linked to the firestorm, according to the Associated Press. A 70-year-old woman was found dead in a crashed vehicle along an evacuation route in Santa Paula.
After increasing over the weekend, the Santa Ana winds have lessened some.
However, locally windy to breezy conditions will continue to buffet the mountains and some canyon locations Monday into Thursday. The late-night and morning hours will be the windiest times of the day.
While the fire danger will not be as extreme, any gusty winds can fan sparks into new fires and delay crews from getting total control of existing blazes.
Residents in the most wind-prone areas should continue to use extreme care with cigarette butts and equipment that produces sparks.
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“Rain-free weather will continue, along with very low humidity,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Faith Eherts stated in regards to other conditions that will work against firefighting efforts.
Firefighters are currently battling five large blazes across Southern California.
A reduction in the winds will prevent the smoke from streaming as far away from the fires as earlier in the week.
However, smoke can become trapped in the valleys surrounding the fires where the wind totally calms. Health hazards, especially for the elderly and those with respiratory problems, will result due to poor air quality.
Santa Ana winds are expected to finally cease by the end of this week with an increase in relatively humidity, meaning it will take longer for objects to burn, along the coast.
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