Back-to-back Santa Ana winds will raise fire risk in Southern California as temperatures in the range of 60 to 90 degrees reach the coast, a day before temperatures are expected to exceed 100 degrees on the fire front that will burn for a week.
The National Weather Service in Oxnard issued a severe wind warning for the Santa Ana hills Wednesday afternoon, warning about the risk of large amounts of heat producing wind.
Winds from the south can reach 30 mph on the coast during the night in Southern California, and bring strong gusts inland overnight for a day after those winds come in.
The first Santa Ana weather system of the year is due in from the west, and is to approach the mountains about 11 a.m. today, and to arrive on the coast about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
It will then move inland Tuesday, bringing large amounts of heat and very strong winds, with strong gusts for the coast and strong downpours, according to the National Weather Service.
The first major Santa Ana fire in Southern California history started Monday in the mountains above Montecito in San Diego County.
By Tuesday afternoon, it had burned at least 19,000 acres, officials said, destroying or threatening houses and at least two camps. It spread to the west in the morning, destroying four houses, two of them on the ocean, and destroyed a storage building for wood in Santa Ana.
“I knew it was going to be quite a fire and I didn’t expect it here in Montecito, but Santa Ana is a different proposition,” said Capt. Gary O’Dell, fire department spokesman.
Firefighters were attacking the blaze from the air and by burning lines in the fields around the mountain, he said, adding that the fire also had forced the evacuation of three homes and their possessions.
A mandatory evacuation was ordered for the area of the fire in Santa Ana and the area just to the north after residents were advised to leave the beach area.
It is not known how many homes were destroyed or threatened by the fire, but said the wildfire destroyed three separate structures