LOS ANGELES (AP) – Rising temperatures, falling humidity levels and Santa Ana winds increased fire danger in drought-stricken Southern California on Thursday, and forecasters said the fall heat wave would push temperatures well above normal from San Diego to San Francisco.
The Santa Anas – hot, dry winds blowing from land to sea – were expected to be modest and then diminish as conditions become hotter and drier through the weekend with temperatures above 100 degrees in Southern California valleys.
The National Weather Service said the heat stemmed from a ridge of high pressure building over the region. It was not expected to begin breaking down until Sunday.
The average high temperature in downtown Los Angeles in October is 79 degrees. On Thursday, downtown was already 92 degrees before noon and relative humidity had plunged from an early morning high of 90 percent to just 15 percent.
Abnormally high temperatures were not confined to the state’s south coast. Forecasters also issued heat advisories up the Central Coast, through the San Francisco Bay region and into the wine country to the north. Highs were expected to reach the 80s and 90s, with some inland locations possibly topping 100, the Weather Service said.
While forest fires burned throughout the summer in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere in Northern California, the southwestern portion of the state has not had widespread wildfire conditions since early in the year.
Fall, however, is usually when the south sees the worst blazes, typically fanned by gusty Santa Ana winds.
The Los Angeles Fire Department placed additional firefighting resources in brush areas Thursday. The deployment was anticipated to last 24 hours but would be re-evaluated depending on weather conditions, the department said.
But the city did not impose special restrictions that ban parking in areas of narrow roads, tight turns and key intersections where access by firefighting vehicles could be impeded.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.