Red Flag Warning for L.A. Co. areas

PALMDALE, Calif. In Palmdale, winds were gusting all day on Friday.

The wind had been up and down in the Antelope Valley all day long. Over the weekend, the wind is supposed to kick up, so fire crews were on high alert.

There was a bit of wind through the Newhall Pass on Friday. It whipped along the 14 Freeway through the Santa Clarita Valley and north into Palmdale and Lancaster.

Along the thoroughfare there is a lot of brush on hillsides butting the freeway. This weekend, fire crews say they will patrol the brushy hillsides, looking for the slightest spark. Fierce winds are expected, especially on Sunday.

Crews at Station 126 in Valencia say they brought in extra manpower to deal with fire danger.

"We put additional firefighters on engine companies. We staffed patrols with captains and firefighters. We staffed water tenders. And, the staffing is going to increase as the wind event comes in," said Captain Kurt Schaefer, Los Angeles County Fire Department. "Areas that are of concern with us are the brush interface areas. You have the Antelope Valley, the Santa Clarita Valley and the Malibus. And then parts of the San Gabriel Valley."

When fire officials talk about brush interface areas, they are talking about areas that have a lot of brush mixed in with homes. They want to warn residents in such areas to be especially careful this weekend.

"I would say, unless you are in the middle of a residential area with no brush around, that it's probably a good idea to cook inside this weekend," said Battalion Chief Joel Harrison, Los Angeles County Fire Department. "And, just keep your eyes open, you know. There are, unfortunately, folks out there that view this as an opportunity at times. And, that being the case, if anyone sees anybody out in the brush interface areas that looks like they don't belong, or looks like they may not be doing something that they should be, then they should report that to the authorities."

The U.S. Forest Service is moving in almost a dozen extra tankers to Southern California. The National Guard is moving additional aircraft to the area. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has put all state agencies on special alert because of the high fire danger.


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