Heat Wave Prompts Wildfire Warning in Southern California - Pacific Standard

Heat Wave Prompts Wildfire Warning in Southern California

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On Monday, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning that a combination of strong Santa Ana winds, record breaking temperatures, and low humidity in Southern California elevated the risk of wildfires in the region.

The Santa Ana winds bring hot, dry air over the mountains from California's inland deserts, and the low humidity helps to dry out vegetation, providing additional fuels for potential fires. The warning, which is in effect through Wednesday, stretches from Santa Barbara down to San Diego.

"This event is especially concerning because of the multiple day nature of it, which we have not seen yet this season and such events have a history of large fires," the Weather Service announcement reads. "With these prolonged weather conditions, and the very dry fuels/vegetation, extreme fire behavior is likely if any fire ignition begins ... threatening life and property."

As the dangerous heat wave grips Southern California, firefighters are still fighting to contain several blazes in the Northern part of the state, which have destroyed over 7,700 structures, displaced roughly 100,000, and caused an estimated $1 billion in damages so far.

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