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Winds in L.A. area bring red-flag fire warning

October 28, 2009 | 11:14 am


Officials issued a red-flag fire danger warning today in hillside areas of Southern California because of continued gusty winds and dry conditions.

The fire warning will last through the afternoon because of the northeastern winds, according to the National Weather Service. No fires have been reported today, and firefighters hope cool temperatures and humidity will prevent any blazes from spreading. There was a small fire Tuesday near Getty Center, but it was quickly extinguished.

Winds of 20 to 30 mph are expected across the Southland, but some areas could still experience gusts of up to 70 mph. A wind advisory this morning was in effect throughout the region until 11 a.m., said Stewart Seto, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Air quality in wildfire-ravaged areas of the San Gabriel Valley was expected to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive people because of the dust and ash whipped up by the winds, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Southern California Edison reports this morning that 17,000 customers are without power, and the L.A. Department of Water and Power says 13,400 of its customers are in the same situation.

Neither agency could estimate when power would be restored, according to their representatives.

In the Southern California Edison coverage area, the hardest-hit communities this morning were Compton, Huntington Park and Inglewood, said Gil Alexander, a spokesman.

An air advisory remained in effect for the Coachella Valley in Riverside County, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

A warming trend is expected to develop this weekend as the cold front moves out of the area tonight and high pressure builds, Seto said. Temperatures this weekend are expected to reach the 80s.

β€œIt’s going to be nice, warm and mostly clear,” Seto said.

-- Ruben Vives and Baxter Holmes

Photo: Powerful winds uprooted a tree that crushed a parked car on the 14800 block of Sylvan Street in Van Nuys. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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