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Red flag warnings issued for mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties

September 25, 2010 |  1:39 pm

Weather forecasters have issued a red flag warning for the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties as a sharp warming trend produces hot, dry and windy conditions across the region this weekend into early next week.

“It’s already hot out there,” said Ryan Kittell of the National Weather Service. “We’re expecting temperatures to continue to climb.”

The heat wave is expected to last through Wednesday, forecasters said. The hot conditions on Saturday led the Los Angeles Fire Department to pre-deploy additional firefighters to neighborhood fire stations serving brushy areas, according to a Fire Department spokesman.

Afternoon temperatures for Sunday and Monday will be in the triple digits across the Inland areas. An onshore flow will also produce gusty northeast winds through and below passes and canyons of Ventura and Los Angeles counties. The strongest period of wind, forecasters say, will be Saturday night through Monday, with gusts of 30 mph.

The San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys are also under fire weather watch, Kittell said. A fire weather watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur, while a red flag warning means fire weather conditions are already ideal for wildland fire ignition.

The heat wave is the result of a strong ridge of high pressure that is building over Central and Southern California. A slight cooling trend will bring relief Wednesday as the high pressure system moves eastward. Forecasters remind people to take the necessary precautions to prevent heat-related stress and illness.

-- Ruben Vives