Strong winds, low humidity increase chance of fire

RIVERSIDE – Strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures threatened to fuel a wildfire throughout most of Riverside County for the fifth consecutive day today.

“High pressure aloft along the west coast will keep very dry and warm conditions across Southern California through this weekend, with daytime humidity values in the single digits,” according to the National Weather Service.

There was a brief lull in the winds Thursday afternoon but speeds increased again Thursday evening and early today, prompting the NWS to extend a red flag warning for the Inland Empire and mountain areas until 6 p.m. today.

The warning, first issued Monday, was originally set to expire Wednesday and then later extended to 6 p.m. Thursday. It signals a heightened risk of wildfire and is the agency’s most serious fire-related weather warning.

This week’s red flag warning did not extend to the Coachella Valley.

Today’s forecast for the Inland Empire and mountain areas called for sustained northeast winds of 15 to 30 miles per hour and gusts up to 50 mph. Isolated gusts up to 60 mph were also possible, an NWS advisory said.

The low daytime humidity was expected to be around 5 percent.

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