SoCal firefighters increase patrols amid red flag warning

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Firefighters are increasing patrols across Southern California on Thursday as high winds and low humidity raises the risk of wildfires.

A red flag warning is in effect for large swaths of the Southland and is expected to last until 6 p.m. Friday.

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The blustery and dry conditions have also triggered a fire weather watch for the Los Angeles County coast, including downtown Los Angeles.

In Porter Ranch, the winds were relentless, pushing and pulling at anything that wasn't bolted down.

Amid the high fire danger, the Los Angeles Fire Department is augmenting its staff and pre-deploying firefighting resources. The LAFD said 11 extra engines will be deployed from fire stations in Lincoln Heights, Central City East, Echo Park, Palms, Pacific Palisades, Reseda, Tujunga, Mission Hills, North Hollywood and Chatsworth.

Also, the LAFD will send engines from areas of low fire danger as part of mobile strike teams to the central San Fernando Valley and Hollywood Hills, and other engines will be sent to stations in Bel Air, Sylmar and West Hills.

A brush fire that burned dozens of acres in Simi Valley served as a reminder that even with cooler temperatures, the fire danger remains high. Firefighters say residents still need to be cautious.

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"Do not get complacent. Just because it is cool, it does not mean it is not dry. It is still very, very dry. We are in the height of fire season for Southern California," said Capt. Scott Dettorre with the Ventura County Fire Department.

The LAFD also said it will keep a pair of 2,500-gallon water tenders ready at stations in Sun Valley and Sherman Oaks.

Commuters were also warned of dangerous strong winds, particularly for those driving high-profile vehicles.
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