Tuesday, March 11, 2014

update: northeast winds prompt red flag warnings

Looking east up Mill Creek Canyon: 7 a.m. March 11 2014 by Guy McCarthy

By Guy McCarthy

Update 4:19 p.m. The National Weather Service has upgraded a fire weather watch for inland foothill, mountain and desert communities to a red flag warning "for strong gusty winds and low humidities" from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday March 12. 

Posted 1:14 p.m. Dry winds out of the northeast are forecast for late Tuesday through Wednesday evening, and a fire weather watch has been issued for an area including the Mountain Top, Front Country and San Jacinto ranger districts in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Red flag warnings were issued further west in L.A. and Ventura counties, where sustained winds to 40 miles per hour and gusts to 65 mph are possible in areas including the Hollywood Hills and Malibu, according to the National Weather Service.

Wind advisories for the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley are posted for 11 p.m. March 11 to 6 p.m. March 12, with north to northeast winds of 20 to 35 mph possible. Gusts to 65 mph may occur in some foothill areas.

In spite of heavy rains less than two weeks ago, daytime humidity levels could drop to 10 percent in some areas, and "critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur," the Weather Service warned.

Sunlight on Mill Creek Jumpoff: 7:30 a.m. March 11 2014 by Guy McCarthy
Increased fire risks are a concern across parched Southern California, where the cities of Riverside and Los Angeles experienced their driest calendar years on record in 2013.

Concern is also evident in towns along Mill Creek. Eight years ago, the Mill Creek Canyon Fire Safe Council issued a report for Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls stating historical data from 1900 to 2004 shows large fires have never occurred in the densely forested, easternmost areas of Mill Creek Canyon. Numerous fires have occurred in the west end of the canyon and on Yucaipa Ridge.

'San Bernardino County Supervisors, Circa 1914' restored by Fred Flyfisher Fotos

On a more upbeat note, residents of Mountain Home Village are preparing to celebrate a century of local history later this month. Organizers are using the photo above to promote their event. Historians say it shows county elected officials a hundred years ago at the opening of the "Middle Control Road" on the way to Big Bear.

The celebration is scheduled Saturday March 22 and includes a mountain bike ride at 8 a.m., walking tours at Loch Leven, and a 2 p.m. presentation about Mountain Home Village and the Lower Control Road by historian Tom Atchley.

Loch Leven is at 8171 Mountain Home Creek Road, about three miles past Mill Creek Ranger Station. For more info call Sloan at (909) 794-2507 or Carol at (909) 794-6713.

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