Photo by Garry Knight via Flickr Creative Commons
The Santa Ana winds, which blow through in the fall, bring high fire danger because their powerful gusts can whip flames into infernos.
The National Weather Service says conditions are ripe for wildfire in the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Forecasters issued a red flag warning because of strong winds, low humidity, unseasonably high heat and dry vegetation.
The warning went into effect Sunday night and will remain in force until 4 p.m. Monday in the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains, the Angeles National Forest in Los Angeles County and the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County.
The NWS forecast said there is also an “elevated risk” of fire in the valley areas of Southern California but it’s not as extreme as the mountain areas.
The forecast is for Santa Ana winds between 15 and 25 miles per hour, with gusts between 30 and 40 mph. Humidity levels are expected to drop into the single digits, between 6 and 12 percent, as temperatures climb into the 90s throughout Southern California.
Meteorologists attributed the high heat to an upper-level ridge of high pressure that has teamed up with an offshore flow blowing close to the surface.
"This, in combination with critically dry fuels, will bring elevated fire danger to much of the region through Monday," according to the NWS forecast.