Fire weather may be coming to large swathes of Southern California this holiday weekend.
The National Weather Service is forecasting Santa Ana winds between 40 and 65 mph from near Los Angeles to the U.S.-Mexico border beginning on Thanksgiving Day, prompting warnings of power shutoffs for thousands and increasing the danger of wildfires in a state that has already experienced its worst season.
Utility provider Southern California Edison has warned more than 76,000 customers in five counties that they could be without power for Thanksgiving in an effort to prevent wildfire ignition from potential wind damage to power lines.
The NWS warned that fire weather conditions could develop through Wednesday night, with potential red flag warnings by early Thursday evening.
„We are urging the public to be extremely cautious with anything that can start a fire,” the Los Angeles NWS office said. „Those living in wildland interfaces and areas vulnerable to wildfire should have a plan and be ready to evacuate if a fire starts.”
The Santa Anas bring seasonal risk each year. Those winds blow from the interior toward the coast, and combined with low humidity, have the potential to create dangerous fire conditions
In the past, Southern California’s fire season ran from about May or June to November, according to Cal Fire. Now, it seems as if wildfires can break out just about any time of the year. But the worst blazes are still reserved for July and August, when the state is baking, then later in the fall when the flames are pushed by hot, dry and capricious winds – Santa Anas in the south and the Diablos in the north.
Golden State wildfires have killed 31 people this year. Five of the six of the largest wildfires in California history started in August and September and, collectively, burned more than 2,500 square miles, an area about the size of Delaware.
Contributing: Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Santa Ana winds bring Thanksgiving fire danger to Southern California
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — With the pandemic keeping people sheltering at home, more people are extending their outdoor time in the winter by adding fire pits, outdoor heaters and other features. Even in the wintertime, it’s important to take care of your yard. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, an international trade association representing power equipment, small engine, portable generator, utility vehicle, golf car and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, offers tips to keep your yard in top shape for winter use.
Even in the wintertime, it’s important to take care of your yard.
Stop trimming your lawn once it freezes. Trim your grass to the height recommended for your lawn variety before it freezes. Cutting your grass too short can leave it dry and exposes it to the elements, not to mention insects and disease.
Add a thin layer of mulch to your lawn before it’s too cold. A thin layer of mulch can protect your grass roots from snow and frost. It can even prevent deeper layers of soil from freezing, making it easier for your lawn to bounce back in the spring.
Check your trees for dead or damaged limbs. Removing dead or damaged limbs before inclement weather arrives, is one way to protect your shrubs and yard from damage (not to mention people and pets!).Snow and ice can weigh heavily on dead branches and make them snap and fall. Remove any dead branches carefully with clippers, a chainsaw or pole pruner, following safety precautions. Consult an arborist for problematic trees.
Mark pathways to clear and beds to avoid. Mark the areas that you will need to clear of snow and ice, as well as areas you want to avoid, like flower beds. Stakes or sticks can help. When it’s time to run your snow thrower, you won’t accidentally cut a path through the lawn and can stick to your walkways. Always follow manufacturer’s safety procedures and never put your hand inside the snow thrower. Always use a clean out tool or stick to clear a clog. Be sure that children and pets are safely inside and not near outdoor power equipment while it’s being operated.