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UPDATE: Red flag warnings issued for fire danger

Posted: April 18, 2013 8:53 a.m.
Updated: April 18, 2013 5:17 p.m.

High winds triggered local house alarms and fanned the flames of a brush fire in the Newhall Pass Thursday as the National Weather Service called a red flag warning for the Santa Clarita Valley and other areas in Los Angeles County.

A red flag warning indicates high fire danger. Santa Ana winds were gusting up to 50 mph Thursday, said National Weather Service forecaster Stuart Seto.

“We had over a dozen calls for alarms because of the wind,” said Deputy Josh Dubin of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

“When it gets windy, the wind sets off burglary alarms — windows shake or a door closes — and we take these residential alarms seriously,” he said.

Deputies responded to “audible alarms” originating from homes in Canyon Country Thursday morning.

Between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., residential security alarms were triggered on Amber Way off Shangri-la Drive, on Savory Street and on Foxlane Drive. An alarm was also tripped at a Valencia house on Savory Place in Northpark.

And while deputies were checking on wind-triggered alarms, firefighters were responding to wind-whipped flames in the Newhall Pass.

It was the third time in two weeks that winds threatened to fuel brush fires and prompted swift response by multi-agency firefighters.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department received “multiple calls” of a brush fire on the south side of Highway 14 between Newhall Avenue and Placerita Canyon Road, said Fire Department Inspector Quvondo Johnson.

The fire was extinguished shortly after 11 a.m.

The red flag warning was expected to last until Friday afternoon, but winds would continue gusting to 20 mph, into Saturday, Seto said.

While the red flag warning was in place, officials with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection urged residents:

- not to mow or trim grass

- ensure campfires were completely extinguished

- not to pull vehicles onto dry grass areas

- ensure cigarette butts are properly extinguished.

CAlFire also pressed its air tankers into service Thursday, ahead of schedule.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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