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Whips Santa Ana Winds play a big role in how quickly the Thomas Fire spreads over Ventura County in California. Firefighters say it's a "very bad scenario".
USA TODAY

It was anticipated that the winds were known to cause forest fires in Southern California Refuel For the first time this year on Sunday night, the region on alert, according to the National Weather Service.

The first large Santa Ana winds of the season can reach gusts of up to 75 km / h in the mountains of the region, resulting in critical fire weather conditions by Tuesday evening.

Last year the winds hit the Thomas Fire, which has more than 280,000 hectares destroyed in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. and took more than a month to contain. Before the Mendocino Complex Fire in Northern California surpassed this summer, the Thomas Fire was the biggest wildfire in modern state history.

The fire warnings include parts of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can be combined to moisturize life and property-threatening fires.

In the Los Angeles and Ventura counties, gusts of 45 to 65 mph are dehydrated by the last rainfall of wetted fuel. Minimum humidities between 4 and 12 percent Monday and Tuesday and temperatures between 81 and 91 degrees also produce dry, hot air that could quickly spread fire. Any fire could trigger point fire well in front of the main body of the flames and behave unpredictably, reported the Ventura County Star, part of the USA TODAY network.

Related: & # 39; Beyond a Perfect Storm & # 39 ;: Wind-Driven California Fire Approaching

Related: After the Fire comes the Bill: The Rising Cost of Fighting California Blazes

The Weather Service advised the public to exercise caution near sources of fire and point out the potential for rapid fire growth and fire behavior. Sudden gusty crosswinds can also make driving difficult and cause power outages. People Should Stay Away From Crashed Trees and Power Lines, Los Angeles Forecast Tweeted .

The Santa Ana winds, which occur most frequently from September to May, drive dry air from the native deserts of California and the Southwest. They blow over mountains between coastal and desert areas of the state, condense and heat up. The relative humidity of the warming air then falls, drying out the vegetation and providing the main fuel for forest fires.

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