The warning goes into effect at 10 a.m. and will last until 10 p.m. Friday. The weather service also issued a high wind warning for the county mountains and valleys that went into effect at midnight and lasts until 6 p.m. Friday.
Along with low humidity levels, the strong Santa Ana winds blowing northeast are to blame for the fire danger, with winds of 15 to 25 mph in the forecast and gusts near 35 mph possible Thursday morning in the mountains before the winds strengthen and spread into the valleys later in the day.
Humidity was expected to drop into the 5 to 10 percent range Thursday.
Fuels are very dry and fires will grow rapidly and be difficult to control upon ignition, according to the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index.
High temperatures Thursday will be 75 to 80 degrees in the western valleys and 65 to 71 in the mountains, weather service forecasters said.
With the heightened fire danger, authorities recommended that residents avoid outdoor burning and have emergency preparedness kits in order.
“An emergency can happen at any time,” a forecaster said in a statement on the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index Website. “Clean debris away from your house. Charge your cell phone and make sure you have plenty of gas.”
— City News Service