Southern California Under Red Flag Warning Amid Brush Fire Danger

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Residents in Southern California are facing high winds across the region amid severely heightened brush fire danger, resulting in multiple red flag warnings across the state. Today as many Americans head out Black Friday shopping, many Californians are left to contend with potential wildfire outbreaks.

ABC News reports the red flag warnings were issued early Thursday morning for communities across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Many of those warnings were still in effect through Friday morning. Per the outlet, the red flag warnings represent “critical fire weather conditions.”

Wind gusts and ongoing dry conditions only helped to amplify dangers posed by wildfires burning throughout the state. On Thursday, gusts were reaching up to 70 miles per hour which, combined with a decades-long megadrought, could very easily spread any brush fires that break out.

Further, parts of CA are continuing to experience summertime temperatures, with Los Angeles and Orange Counties expected to hit 80 degrees between Thursday and Friday.

Other locations at risk of facing brush fire danger include Burbank, Santa Clarita, and Malibu. Red flag warnings went out in mass Thursday as strong winds originated from the east, which means gusts were much drier than those that typically come in off the Pacific Ocean.

Surrounding states are also experiencing high wind warnings including Arizona and western Texas. There, windspeeds could reach up to 50 miles per hour.

Northwest U.S. Experiencing ‘Unusual’ Wildfire Activity

As California contends with dangerous wind gusts and potential brush fire outbreaks, areas farther northwest are experiencing what officials have deemed “unusual” wildfire activity. Firefighters across Oregon and Washington specifically are contending with extremely late-season wildfires.

In general, wildfire season typically runs from April and May through the end of October. However, in the Pacific Northwest, wildfires have endured long beyond the usual October deadline.

Last week, fire crews were left battling two major blazes across OR. These include the 98 Delta Fire in Clatsop County and the Lost Mountain Fire in Tillamook County. The blazes scorched more than 200 acres together at that time. Speaking about the late-season fires, Jason Cox of the OR Department of Forestry said, “This kind of fire activity in November, in northwest Oregon, is pretty unusual.”

There are a number of reasons the season could have run this late in the year. However, experts believe a late rainy season has resulted in an even later wildfire season.

The region’s rainy season typically tapers off in May. However, this year, it lasted well into June. As such, Cox concluded, “It seems like we’ve taken what normally would’ve started in May and ended in September and just shifted that forward a couple of months.”