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.
Forecasters are warning of gusty, dry conditions through the weekend that will raise the danger of wildfire across Southern California.
The National Weather Service calls for Santa Ana winds with powerful offshore gusts and very low humidity.
Agency forecaster Rob Balfour predicts the wind storm will be a "three" on a scale of one to five.
"This will be the most significant Santa Ana wind event that we've had probably in the last two years," Balfour says.
He says wind gusts are expected to reach up to 70 mph.
"Seventy mile-an-hour winds — those are damaging winds. Aside from the fire problem, there are probably going to be things broken — signs broken, power lines down and all these things could cause sparks," Balfour says.
Red flag warnings have been posted for greater Los Angeles, inland counties, and San Diego Thursday night through Sunday afternoon.