Strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity were expected in the Inland Empire and mountains of Riverside County for the fourth consecutive day today.
Meanwhile, fire officials are battling a large wildfire in the Angeles National Forest that broke out early Thursday morning and has prompted evacuations. Dubbed the Colby fire, the blaze has consumed thousands of acres at press time.
Fire officials in Riverside County remain on high alert and Cal Fire/Riverside County sent strike teams to aid more than 500 personnel on the blaze."Earlier today we sent five engines and a battalion chief, three camp strike teams, a helicopter, two tankers and an air attack, Mark Annas of Cal Fire told Patch in a phone interview at noon Jan. 16.
The fire burns as warm, dry windy conditions prompted the National Weather Service to extend a red flag warning today -- signaling a heightened risk of wildfire -- for the Inland Empire and mountain areas until 6 p.m. The warning was issued on Monday and originally scheduled to expire at 6 p.m. Wednesday. It did not extend to the Coachella Valley.
Today, sustained northeast winds of 15 to 30 miles per hour and gusts up to 50 mph were expected in the Inland Empire and mountain areas, along with a low daytime humidity around 5 percent.
High temperatures today were expected to be in the mid-80s in the Inland Empire, high 60s to high 70s in the mountains and high 70s to low 80s in the Coachella Valley.
In addition to the red flag warning, a less-serious wind advisory was in effect today for the Inland Empire. The advisory, which denotes winds strong enough to make driving difficult, was scheduled to expire at 2 p.m.
Warm, dry conditions will continue into Friday, but winds will likely weaken, lessening the risk of wildfire, according to the weather service.