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Climate and Environment

Incoming Santa Ana Winds Mean Increased Wildfire Risk

A toppled tree has roots pulled out of the ground.
This tree was uprooted in Pasadena when high winds swept in.
(Sharon McNary
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The first strong Santa Ana winds of the season could begin as early as Tuesday night, increasing the risk of wildfires breaking out in dry brush.

Recent rain could help: "The only possible hope is that we did get a fair amount of rain recently ... but the fire people said the fuels haven't quite moistened up sufficiently," said Dave Bruno, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "We're not out of the woods yet."

Weather advisories: A Fire Weather Watch has been issued for Wednesday, as winds could reach 60 miles per hour along the coast and in the valleys, and 70 miles per hour in the mountains and foothills. It applies to western L.A. County and much of Ventura County. A high-wind watch covers most of Southern California Tuesday night through Wednesday night.

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Do your part: Don't carelessly discard cigarettes, use an open flame or smoke near brush areas, and secure lawn or outdoor equipment. "When it's really windy like this, the fire will get away from you in seconds," said Carol Smith, also with NWS. "It's really surprising how fast the fires can move when you have these really strong winds."