Environment & Science

Santa Anas bring record heat, fire danger to Southern California

File: Palm trees in the wind.
File: Palm trees in the wind.
Larry & Teddy Page/Flickr via Creative Commons

Gusty Santa Ana winds blew through mountains and valleys of Southern California again Monday, raising temperatures to levels more like summer than winter and increasing the risk of wildfires as humidity levels fell.

The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings for fire danger across most of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, while wind warnings and advisories were posted for much of the region's other counties from the Central Coast to San Diego.

Downtown Los Angeles topped out at a record 88 degrees — 20 degrees above normal for Feb. 8 and 3 degrees above the old record.

Unseasonable warmth also spread into Northern California. San Francisco reached the 70s on a day when 60 is normal.

Residents should be aware of the fire danger. Recent rainfall in the area didn't help much, according to Margaret Stewart at the Los Angeles Fire Department.

"The low moisture in the vegetation is not affected by that short amount of rain," Stewart told KPCC. "A couple of rainstorms is not going to resolve it."

Ventura County crews quickly contained a wind-fanned brush fire that briefly threatened homes Sunday near the Spanish Hills Country Club in Camarillo. No damage or injuries were reported.

This story has been updated.