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Winds trigger red-flag fire warnings for deserts, mountains

June 19, 2012 |  7:32 am

A low-pressure system moving inland is expected to bring gusty west winds, warm temperatures and a higher risk of fire Tuesday to the region’s mountains and deserts areas, according to the National Weather Service.

Wind and red-flag warnings — signaling strong winds and low relative humidity — have been posted for the Antelope and Coachella valleys and surrounding areas, where 20-to-30-mph winds are forecast with gusts up to 55 mph in some places. Motorists with high-profile vehicles are advised to use extra caution.

Temperatures are expected to be 95 to 100 degrees. Forecasts call for 5% to 10% humidity.

Weather service officials said the winds are expected to diminish overnight starting at about 8 p.m. Overnight temperatures will drop into the 70s.

Along the coast, a small-craft advisory has been issued due to patchy fog and gusty winds between 15 and 20 knots with gusts to 25 knots. The winds are expected to increase overnight to 15 to 25 knots with gusts to 30 mph.

The weather conditions contributed to a wildfire in a remote area south of Beaumont, which had grown to more than 2,200 acres before it was fully contained Monday night.

The Beaumont blaze, which started Saturday afternoon and grew rapidly throughout that day, was contained by about 6 p.m., fire officials said.

Officials said no structures were threatened by the fire and that no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Meanwhile, several hundred firefighters were continuing Tuesday to battle a brush fire that has scorched nearly 1,000 acres near Campo in eastern San Diego County.

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— Dan Weikel

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