Hot, windy conditions raise fire concerns

While computer models say there could be El Nino-generated storms later this month, the immediate forecast calls for the possibility of record heat and fears of wildfires as Santa Ana winds move into the area Sunday and Monday.

Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority said his organization will be on heightened alert for possible fires.

“We’ve had fires every month this year,” he said, noting that is a rare occurrence during the winter.

“There’s high pressure building over the Great Basin and that’s the classic position for Santa Anas,” said David Samuehl, meteorologist for Accuweather.

The winds combined with low humidity and heat could exacerbate possible fires.

“It won’t start a fire, but it would allow it to spread rapidly,” Samuehl said.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Ventura and Los Angeles counties through Monday.

Gusty, northeast winds are expected across portions of Orange County, including areas between Irvine and the Golden State Freeway (I-5) with gusts of 50 to 60 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

Orange County cities could approach record high temperatures Monday and Tuesday, with temperatures in the low 80s inland.

Tuesday will be the warmest day of the week, Brett Albright, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said. Anaheim, Fullerton and Yorba Linda are expected to see e highs in the 90s; nearby cities will experience similar highs.

“It will be warmer than we’ve seen in a few months,” Albright said.

Newport Beach has a good chance Tuesday to break a record high of 77 degrees set in 2002, Albright said.

Accuweather forecasts a high of 86 in Santa Ana for Monday. The record is 90.

No rain is forecast for Orange County in the next 10 days.

– Staff writer Samuel Mountjoy contributed to this report

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