Dry, gusty Santa Ana winds raise the danger of large wildfires across Southern California

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Smoke rises from two brush fires in the Angeles National Forest northeast of downtown Los Angeles on August 27, 2009.

Forecasters say strong Santa Ana winds will start to blow as early as Wednesday night across Southern California.

Mountain and valleys may see wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour. The winds paired with low humidity are often a recipe for large scales fire.

“The dry conditions that we’ve had through the summer and through the fall have really increased the fire danger," said Jayme Laber, a meterologist with the National Weather Service. "The fire danger is specifically high when we have these wind events. If a fire were to start, it could spread very quickly.”

The weather service has issued fire watches for most of Southern California through Friday night. It's being called the first notable Santa Ana wind event of the season.

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