Strong winds raise wildfire threat

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Strong and potentially damaging Santa Ana winds were forecast to blow throughout most of Riverside County today, raising the threat of wildfire in the region.

The National Weather Service scheduled its most serious fire-related warning — a red flag warning — until 8 p.m. for the the Riverside metropolitan area, the mountains of Riverside County and the county’s valleys, but not the Coachella Valley.

The warning is issued whenever hot, dry and windy conditions combine to create “extreme fire behavior,” according to the agency.

The Weather Service also scheduled a high wind warning — signaling winds strong enough to cause damage — for the metropolitan areas, valley areas and the mountains until 5 p.m., saying gusts of 60 to 80 miles per hour were likely today in the mountains and foothills, 40 to 60 mph in inland valleys.

“The winds will subside (this) evening,” the agency said.

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