The first major Santa Ana winds are back, sparking wildfire concerns after red-flag warnings for high winds were put in place over the weekend.
The National Weather Service for Los Angeles/Oxnard, California, cautioned that mountain areas were expected to experience gusts of up to 65 mph by midday Monday, with wind speeds for the Santa Monica Mountains, Ventura County and L.A. County mountains forecast to reach between 30 to 45 mph.
The service noted that the high winds, low humidity and warm temperatures could "contribute to extreme fire behavior" making for "critical fire weather conditions."
This was observed last year when homes across San Diego, Sylmar, Bel-Air, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties were ravaged by a series of wind-whipped fires, including the devastating Thomas fire, The Los Angeles Times noted.
More than 280,000 acres of land, and over 1,000 structures were destroyed by that fire alone.
Power lines damaged by the strong winds could spark possible fires, and utility providers such as PG&E announced plans to shut off power in light of the red-flag warnings.
As many as 87,000 residents in Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Sierra, Placer, Nevada, Butte, Yuba, Plumas, Amador, El Dorado and Calaveras counties were expected to have no power starting Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle noted.
"We know our customers rely on electric service, and we would only consider turning off power in the interest of safety and as a last resort during extreme weather conditions," said PG&E spokeswoman Megan McFarland. "Once the conditions are safe, our crews (will) work to restore power as quickly as possible."
According to the Los Angeles Times, red flag fire warnings are anticipated for areas including East Bay Hills in Oakland and Fremont, the hills of Napa and eastern Sonoma counties, the Diablo Range, the North Bay Mountains, the Sacramento Valley and the northern Sierra Nevada and Northern Coast Range.
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