Fire-stricken Southern California braces for more strong winds
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WATCH: Flames shut down busy Interstate 405 and threatened the Getty Center, which holds priceless artworks.

A major Santa Ana event with wind gusts up to 80 mph paired with low relative humidity is to blame for the fire emergency in the Los Angeles area over the last two days.

Southern California has suffered from exceptional drought over the past several years, causing very dry vegetation and longer fire seasons. It’s fairly late in the year for such a strong Santa Ana wind event; in fact it may be the strongest one to occur in December since 2002. It’s also one of the driest starts to the wet season on record for Southern California, leading to extreme fire danger.

Flames burn near power lines in Sycamore Canyon near West Mountain Drive in Montecito, Calif., Dec. 16, 2017. Photo Credit: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP
This undated photo obtained from the Santa Barbara County Fire, shows flames from the Thomas Fire near homes. Photo Credit: Handout/AFP/Getty Images
Cal Fire captain Jason Novak observes fire behavior during a firing operation at the Thomas Fire above Los Padres National Forest, Calif., Dec. 13, 2017. Novak is part of the Cal Fire Lake Napa Unit.

Photo Credit: Stuart Palley for ABC News

A Cal Fire firefighter observes fire behavior during a firing operation in the Los Padres National Forest, Calif., Dec. 13, 2017.

Photo Credit: Stuart Palley for ABC News

Wildfire flames burn on a hillside from the Thomas Fire near Montecito, Calif., Dec. 12, 2017.



More than 6,000 fire personnel are still battling the Thomas fire, which has singed more th... Photo Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters

A vehicle burns after the Thomas Fire surged through Toro Canyon, Calif. on Dec. 11, 2017. By midnight the fire had burned over 230,000 acres, was 20% contained, destroyed 880 homes, and was the 5th largest fir... Photo Credit: Stuart Palley for ABC News
Firefighters battle flames on State Route 150 between Carpinteria and Ojai Calif., Dec. 11, 2017.

Photo Credit: Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic/USA Today

Christmas decorations illuminate a house as the growing Thomas Fire advances toward Santa Barbara County seaside communities, Dec. 10, 2017, in Carpinteria, Calif.

Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

Firefighting helicopters try to save a house from the Thomas wildfire in Carpinteria, Calif. on Dec. 10, 2017.

Photo Credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Fire fighters attack the Thomas Fire's north flank with backfires as they continue to fight a massive wildfire north of Los Angeles, near Ojai, Calif., Dec. 9, 2017. Photo Credit: Gene Blevins/Reuters
Patricia Hampton wipes away tears on her cot at the county fairgrounds in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 7, 2017. Wildfires menacing the greater Los Angeles area have forced thousands of evacuations; Hampton lost her ho... Photo Credit: Hilary Swift/The New York Times/Redux
Firefighters work to extinguish the Thomas Fire as it burns past the 101 Highway towards the Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 7, 2017. Photo Credit: Kyle Grillot/AFP/Getty Images
The Thomas Fire reaches the Northbound 101 freeway north of Ventura, Calif. As of late Dec. 6, the Thomas fire had grown to 96,000 acres and was 5 percent contained as the blaze continued to rage and caused mor... Photo Credit: (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/Polaris
Jeff Lipscomb embraces his daughter Rachel, 11, as they stand over where her room was and see her burned collection of books after their home was destroyed in a fire in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Polaris
Flames consume a home as a wildfire burns in Ojai, Calif., on Dec. 7, 2017. Photo Credit: Noah Berger/AP
Firefighters monitor a section of the Thomas Fire along the 101 freeway on Dec. 7, 2017 north of Ventura, Calif. The firefighters occasionally used a flare device to burn-off brush close to the roadside. Strong... Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik shared images of the Southern California wildfires taken from the International Space Station on Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: @AstroKomrade/Twitter
Paul and Erica Mattesich embrace before sifting through rubble at their Ventura, Calif., home on Dec. 6, 2017. The family lost their house when the Thomas fire tore through their neighborhood on Colina Vista. Photo Credit: Noah Berger/AP
A painting rescued by firefighters sits on the ground as they work to extinguish fires in a home during the Skirball Fire which began early morning in Bel-Air, Calif. Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: John Centrino/EPA
A firefighter walks out of a vineyard owned by Rupert Murdoch that was damaged by the Skirball fire near the Bel Air neighborhood on the west side of Los Angeles, Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Andrew Cullen/Reuters
Burnt cars lie among the ruins of the Hawaiian Village apartment complex that was destroyed by the Thomas Fire in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Mike Nelson/EPA
Gordon Fischer rests in an evacuation center set up at the Ventura County Fairgrounds after he was displaced by the Thomas Fire in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Mike Nelson/EPA
Firefighters remove furniture from a home destroyed in a wildfire in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles, Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Jae Hong/AP
A firefighter works to save burning houses as ash falls along Linda Flora Drive during the Skirball Fire in Los Angeles, Dec. 6, 2017.

The "Skirball" fire ignited before 5 a.m. (1300 GMT) and quickly... Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles firefighters battle to contain flames to a burning home and prevent the fire's spread to adjoining properties in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles on Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Reed Saxon/AP
Vehicles pass beside a wall of flames on the 101 highway as it reaches the coast during the Thomas wildfire near Ventura, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017.

Photo Credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Heavy smoke covers the seaside enclave of Mondos Beach beside the 101 highway as flames reach the coast during the Thomas wildfire near Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
Brushfire near the 405 Freeway in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: JoeBrennan87/Twitter
A Los Angeles County firefighter prepares to battle a hot spot on the "Creek Fire" in the Lake View Terrace area of Los Angeles, Dec. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Chris Carlson/AP
Firefighters work to put out a blaze burning homes early on Dec. 5, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. Authorities said the blaze broke out Monday and grew wildly in the hours that followed, consuming vegetation that has... Photo Credit: Ryan Cullom/Ventura County Fire Department via AP
Horse owners start to evacuate their horses as the Creek Fire intensifies on Foothill Blvd in Lake View Terrace, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Joe Lumaya/The Star via USA Today
A man watches as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Noah Berger/AP
A man uses a hose to extinguish the Creek Fire as it burns along a hillside near homes and horses in the Shadow Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Kyle Grillot/AFP/Getty Images
The Thomas Fire burns along a hillside near Santa Paula, Calif., on Dec. 5, 2017.

More than a thousand firefighters were struggling to contain a wind-whipped brush fire in southern California on December 5 t... Photo Credit: Kyle Grillot/AFP/Getty Images

Homes burned to the ground by the Thomas fire are viewed from a helicopter in Ventura County, Dec. 5, 2017, Ventura, Calif. Photo Credit: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/Polaris
A wildfire threatens homes as it burns along the 101 Freeway Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. Photo Credit: AP
Smoke rises behind a leveled apartment complex as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Noah Berger/AP
A photo released by the Ventura County Fire Department shows the Thomas Fire, which forced more than 25,000 people to evacuate Ventura, Calif., Dec. 4, 2017. Photo Credit: Ventura County Fire Department/EPA

Santa Ana winds are strong northeasterly winds that move downslope and offshore in Southern California. They originate from dry high-pressure air masses usually located over the Great Basin, which is the classic setup seen today.

Over 4,000 firefighters are battling four large wildfires that have burned over 83,000 acres. The newest fire, the Skirball fire in Los Angeles County, engulfed Interstate 405, one of America's busiest highways, and closed it for a time. The Creek fire, also in Los Angeles County, injured seven firefighters today. The Thomas Fire in Ventura County is the largest of the four, which started Tuesday morning and is still 0 percent contained.

Classic Santa Ana wind setup with high pressure bringing strong offshore winds to Southern California.

High pressure over the Great Basin continues to bring dry, offshore winds to Southern California today although they are not as strong as Tuesday. Expect those winds to pick up again this evening, however, with the next major Santa Ana wind event is forecast to begin tonight and last through Thursday.

Red flag warnings remain in effect from Ventura to San Diego.

Red flag warnings remain in effect from Ventura to San Diego today, and extreme fire danger will continue in these areas through at least Friday.

Strong Santa Ana winds on Thursday will bring high fire danger to Southern California.

By late tonight and especially into tomorrow morning, very strong wind gusts will return. Offshore sustained winds at 20 to 40 mph are expected with gusts of 60 to 80 mph. Wind advisories and high wind warnings are in effect until Friday afternoon when they will finally start to subside.

Very low humidity levels on Thursday across Southern California,

Relative humidity values will also be extremely low. Most areas will see humidity in the single digits and teens, with poor overnight recovery.