High winds causing fire danger, driving hazards in Inland Empire
FONTANA, Calif. (KABC) -- High winds are causing an increased fire danger across the Southland, and drivers in the Inland Empire are reporting bumpy commutes along the freeways.
Warning signs were lit up along the 60 Freeway, cautioning drivers of high-profile vehicles to use caution during this Santa Ana wind event.
Most of Southern California was under red-flag warnings scheduled to last through Sunday evening. Winds are expected to gust up to 60 to 70 mph in the mountain areas, 50 to 60 mph in the Valleys and the relative humidity is expected to stay below 15 percent.
Even amid these extreme conditions, a group of Boy Scouts say they're still going on a hiking trip as planned on Saturday. The group was headed to Benito Falls.
Rialto resident Donna Downlord said the commute was tough for her because her car kept shaking on the freeway.
Firefighters were kept busy Friday night when an old abandoned dairy building went up in flames in Eastvale. However, crews were able to put out the flames quickly before they spread to the surrounding vegetation.
Riverside County Fire Battalion Chief Geoff Pemberton said current conditions are very dangerous and crews are remaining vigilant.
"We're still in a high fire danger area and alert. We're in a red-flag warning. We're still staffed up both in Devore, the upper Fontana and the Cajon Pass with hand crews and dozers," Pemberton said.
He said that crews have put out many woodchip fires recently, started predominantly by drivers throwing cigarette butts out of their cars.
"People are discarding their cigarettes out the window of their car, which at any time is wrong, but at this time, it's very severe," he said. "It starts the woodchips on fire. We get on them really quick, with multiple units there because we don't want them to become bigger and cause a problem."
The wind was believed to be the cause of a transformer fire in Simi Valley Saturday morning. Several trees caught fire and part of a fence was damaged, but no one was injured and crews quickly put out the flames. Residents were briefly evacuated.
In Orange County, winds knocked down a power line in Tustin Saturday, touching off several small brush fires that caused damage to one home, fire officials said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
fire, wildfire center, rob mcmillan
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