Extra Santa Ana winds coming, however new authorities web site might save your life – D…


If 8,144 men and women, 1,004 engines and 27 helicopters can’t control the massive fire just north of Los Angeles after a dozen days, we best cowboy up and learn a few things.

First and foremost, there’s a revolutionary new tool that predicts fire threat levels well before the arrival of Santa Ana winds. More on that in a minute.

Some 27 million trees died in California in the last 12 months, according to a new study by U.S. Forest Service officials. That brings the state’s total to 129 million dead trees — what firefighters call fuel for wildfire.

December and January — not October and November, as many believe — are peak months for powerful Santa Ana winds, the phenomenon some call “devil winds.”

Above normal fall temperatures, below normal precipitation and multiple days of devil winds throughout Southern California have created perfect conditions this month and next for hellfires.

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows — Santa Ana winds blow northeast to southwest. But you do need to prepare if you want to live.

Earlier this month a fire alert flag flies in the wind at the headquarters of Irvine Regional Park in Orange as Santa Ana winds continued to blow. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG file)
Earlier this month a fire alert flag flies in the wind at the headquarters of Irvine Regional Park in Orange as Santa Ana winds continued to blow. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG file)

“It’s basically uncontrollable” if a fire occurs during a major Santa Ana, warns Tom Rolinski, senior meteorologist with the U.S. Forest Service and a plain-speaking man. “It’s basically getting people out of the way.

“Get your cellphones charged, be sure your car has plenty of gas and have an escape plan,” he advises. “We’re at the height of the Santa Ana winds season.”



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