Santa Ana wind whips 104-mph gust in Southern California fueling wildfire danger

Los Angeles County already recorded a wind gust of 104 mph. Fire Weather Warnings remain in place through Monday night.

LOS ANGELES – The season’s first Santa Ana wind event is bringing strong winds and low humidity to parts of California, creating a critical risk of wildfire development and spread.

Dry, offshore flow spread across Central and Southern California over the weekend and will continue into Tuesday morning.


So far, Los Angeles County recorded the highest wind gust at 104 mph at the Magic Mountain Truck Trail on Monday morning. 

Western Los Angeles County and eastern Ventura County will continue to see strong gusts through Tuesday morning. The graphic below shows wind gusts are expected to reach between 40 and 60 mph, with isolated gusts as high as 70 mph in the mountains and valleys.

Wind gust forecast.
(FOX Weather)


In addition, the downsloping effect of strong, offshore winds that are sinking down the Southern California mountains will dry the air further across the region, leaving relative humidity levels in single digits, perhaps as low as 3%, according to the National Weather Service in Los Angeles

Relative humidity forecast.
(FOX Weather)


Fire Weather Warnings are in effect through Monday night for various areas around the greater Los Angeles hills, including Malibu, the Santa Clarita Valley, the Ventura County Mountains, the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel Mountains. 


High Wind Warnings for gusts up to 75 mph and a Wind Advisory remain in place through Tuesday night for the San Bernardino and Riverside County valleys, along with the San Bernardino County Mountains, Riverside County Mountains and San Gorgonio Pass Near Banning.

Wind alerts.
(FOX Weather)


Residents told to prepare for evacuations, power outages

"This is a DANGEROUS event," NWS Los Angeles posted on X. "Residents in high fire danger areas should PREPARE NOW if called to evacuate."

Preventative power outages are also possible across Southern California when there is an increased wildfire risk. 

Pacific Gas & Electric does not have any public safety power shutoff planned at this time, according to the utility provider's website. However, PG&E is warning residents to be careful while clearing downed trees and branches knocked over by the winds. 

"Downed trees/branches could be hiding a power line. Assume all wires are energized and extremely dangerous. Don't touch or try to move it – keep children and animals away," PG&E wrote on X.

Due to the fire weather conditions, the city of Los Angeles declared a citywide Red Flag Alert with temporary street parking restrictions through Tuesday morning to keep streets clear in the event of a fire. 

On Sunday, the NWS even issued Dust Storm Warnings across portions of the Desert Southwest and Southern California as the high winds lofted plumes of dust that reduced visibility on roads.

Below-average fire season in the US so far

While Canada has far surpassed all annual records for wildfires, it has so far been a below-average wildfire season in the U.S.


U.S. acres burned year to date.
(FOX Weather)


Fires have burned about 2.5 million acres across the U.S. so far in 2023, below the 10-year average of 6.5 million acres and last year’s 7.2 million acres charred.