SoCal fire danger prompts widespread wind emergency alert

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Multiple brush fires combined with damaging Santa Ana winds prompted a disruptive emergency alert for smartphone users across the Southland, advising strong winds and fire danger Wednesday night through Thursday morning.

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services issued the alert shortly after 8 p.m. to residents in seven Southern California counties.

"Strong winds overnight creating extreme fire danger. Stay alert. Listen to authorities," the alert read.

The loud emergency alert buzzed on cell phones in San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Orange, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, which are areas where red flag warnings have been in place throughout the week.

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What was the purpose? It urged the public to stay ready for any emergency, monitor local news and listen to local authorities for evacuation information.

"The public has a critical role to play in helping us prevent fires before they start by using extreme caution and avoiding any activity that may cause a spark," the OES said.

The alert was sent as the National Weather Service forecasted an 18 to 24 hour-Santa Ana wind event with gusts of 50-80 mph, but the predicted winds overnight did not hit as hard as expected.

This week's destructive winds have led to several wildfires charring several parts of the Southland, including the 96,000-acre Thomas Fire in Ventura County, the more than 12,000-acre Creek Fire near Sunland and Sylmar and the 7,000-acre Rye Fire in Santa Clarita.

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