Fire weather to return to Southern California by holiday

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fire weather will return to Southern California on Thanksgiving with the onset of Santa Ana winds, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.

The gusty, dry northeast winds will kick up on Thursday and persist into Sunday, lowering humidity levels and warming temperatures to levels above normal, forecasters said.

The seasonal offshore winds have historically brought high fire danger during fall, but California has already had a record-setting year of destructive wildfires.

More than 9,200 fires scorched well over 4.1 million acres of land, mostly since a mid-August blitz of dry lightning strikes ignited huge complexes of fires in northern and central areas of the state.

Thirty-one people have been killed and more than 10,400 structures have been damaged or destroyed, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Some of the summer fires continue to smolder, but new wind-driven fires have erupted this fall.

In October, strong Santa Ana winds fanned two wildfires that sent people fleeing suburbs southeast of Los Angeles and last week powerful winds associated with a winterlike front pushed flames that chased residents from the small Eastern Sierra community of Walker in Mono County and from a section of Reno, Nevada.