Santa Ana winds rapidly spread fire near Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California
This could be the strongest Santa Ana wind event since 2007.
The National Weather Service in Los Angeles is warning that Wednesday could be the strongest Santa Ana wind event since 2007, with the strongest winds expected in southern California and lingering into Thursday.
The wind event contributed to the rapid spread of a new brush fire in Southern California.
Wind warnings and advisories are affecting areas throughout the West, not just southern California, including an extreme red flag warning for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, where a combination of strong winds and relative humidity down to 1% will create extreme fire spread conditions.
Here are some of the wind gusts expected Wednesday morning and afternoon, locally near 80 mph are possible in the mountains.
The latest fire to spark is the Hill Fire in the Jurupa Valley in Southern California. The fire has burned through 200 acres and sparked mandatory evacuations for the Santiago Estates Mobile Home Park in Riverside County.
Cal Fire Chief Tom Porter said Wednesday evening the fire was 5% contained, but the forward spread had stopped and it was not running into communities any longer.
The Easy Fire had spread to 1,491 acres Wednesday evening in Southern California's Simi Valley as it encroached the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and State Route 23 and was just 5% contained. Porter said the acreage is expected to continue rising, but concerns were subsiding with winds lessening heading into Thursday and the library appeared out of harm's way at the moment.
The Santa Ana winds played a significant role in pushing the fire farther, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
Mandatory evacuations and school closures have been issued in Ventura County as a result of the fast-moving brush fire. About 30,000 residents were evacuated, according to Bill Ayub, Ventura County sheriff.
A high winds warning has been issued from Ventura to San Diego counties, and winds have already gusted up to 78 mph in Ventura County.
Fire crews were able to increase containment of the Getty Fire in the Los Angeles hills to 27% overnight, but the fire was still burning through 745 acres on Wednesday evening, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Winds are forecast to be 30 to 50 mph with peak gusts up to 70 mph, according to the LAFD, and winds have already gusted up to 68 mph in Los Angeles County.
Thousands of people west of the 405 Freeway and south of Mulholland Drive remain in mandatory evacuation zones. Relative humidity is expected to drop into the single digits overnight with poor to no recoveries, officials said.
Preliminary investigations have found that the Getty Fire likely started after electrical equipment struck a dried eucalyptus tree branch, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced Tuesday.
In Northern California, the Kincade Fire had grown to 76,825 acres by Wednesday morning and remained at 30% contained, according to Cal Fire. However, the winds had begun to settle down by Wednesday afternoon, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a news conference.
More than 100,000 residents in Sonoma County remained under mandatory evacuation orders. Officials have been told to be on the watch for people posing as firefighters who may be trying to loot the empty homes, according to ABC San Francisco station KGO.
Winds hit about 50 to 55 mph in the North Bay overnight and will remain at 30 to 40 mph through Wednesday morning but are expected to taper off by the afternoon, KGO reported.
California fires rage through homes, hills
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