Red flag warning: Santa Ana winds batter Southern California amid fears of increased wildfire risk

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Gusty Santa Ana winds were buffeting Southern California on Sunday, reaching as high as 69 mph in the Santa Clarita Valley.

A wind advisory was in effect until noon Monday in the greater Los Angeles area, until 3 p.m. Monday in the mountains and valleys, and until 2 a.m. Monday in inland Orange County.

A red flag warning for critical fire weather conditions was in effect over most of Los Angeles and Ventura County until 3 p.m. Monday.

Firefighters across the region added extra crews in anticipation of the fire danger.

"This is something...that we know is coming and we try to be prepared for. You talk about hot, dry conditions and then you add in that wind...those create a lot of problems for us," said Captain Ron Haralson with the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

Due to the strong winds, residents of the Santa Clarita Valley have been warned that their power may be shut off to reduce the risk of igniting a wildfire.

Peak winds Sunday morning were recorded in the eastern Ventura County foothills to the western San Gabriel Mountains, with gusts between 50-60 mph and an isolated burst of 69 mph at Magic Mountain Truck Trail, the National Weather Service said.

Elsewhere, the mountain areas were seeing gusts up to 55 mph, and gusts were getting up to 40 mph between Malibu and the Hollywood Hills.

Southland temperatures are unseasonably warm amid the winds, with expected highs in the mid-80s Sunday and Monday in the inland areas of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

A dust advisory was also in effect Sunday for much of Southern California, with the high winds possibly leading to air quality conditions that are unhealthy for sensitive groups.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District encouraged those in areas of direct impact to limit exposure by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed and avoid vigorous physical activity.

Forecasters said another Santa Ana wind event was possible as early as Wednesday, and possibly extending into Friday.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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