Winds lessen but fire danger is high in Southern California

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Power was nearly restored for thousands of Southern California residents as strong Santa Ana winds slowly weakened, but forecasters said high fire danger will persist throughout Saturday due to the dry air and parched vegetation that could easily burn.

At one point Southern California Edison cut power to more than 16,000 customers on Friday in an effort to prevent ignitions caused by sparking wires. The utility reported that about 50 customers in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Ventura remained without power by midday Saturday as it re-energized power lines.

Red flag warnings for high fire danger remained in effect until 6 p.m. due to the Santa Anas gusting 25 to 40 mph (40 to 64 kph), the National Weather Service said.

On Friday, a gust hit 80 mph (128 kph) at Marshall Peak in the San Bernardino Mountains, the NWS said

The seasonal Santa Anas heighten fire danger with the combination of powerful gusts and very dry air that reduces the moisture in vegetation and makes it easier to burn.

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