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TODAY   |  January 17, 2014

LA Fire chief: Red flag issued after wildfire

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby confirmed that firefighters have contained about 30 percent of a wildfire burning through Southern California, but that worries over expected humid weather have prompted a red flag warning for residents in the area.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> bring in a fire chief of los angeles county . chief osby, good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> we heard 30% contained, does that sound about right? and what are your biggest worries here today?

>> reporter: that's about right. we had crews working all night last night trying to contain the fire. we're going to have an update this morning. the biggest thought is we have containment and as the sunrises, we'll have additional wind. and we're expecting 80-degree weather. we have crews working all night to keep all the embers contained within the fire area.

>> it seems unusual in january to have a fire this intense. we've got the winds to battle. what is the red flag warning that was issued until friday?

>> the red flag warning is for high temperatures, low humidity, this is extreme drought season. this is a third year of an ongoing drought in southern california . and we kept records for over 100 years. and this is the driest year on record. to date we've had less than 1 inch of rainfall, and the hills and brush and trees here are critical stage as you would see in the summer in dryness.

>> how on edge do other communities in the area need to be?

>> we're extremely concerned because this is a third year of an ongoing drought. everything's extremely dry. so if there's any spark, we built in 100% chance of a fire. our ten-day forecast indicates no rain in sight. we'll have warm temperatures. all people need to be aware of potential fires.

>> thank you and thanks to the firefighters on the ground there. great job.

>> thank you very much.

>> let's get to al because as the chief just mentioned, weather is a huge factor here.

>> here is the pattern, the same pattern, jet stream up to the north. and big ridge of high pressure has built in. and this is the next ten days at least. and as you can see, look at how extensive the extreme drought is. in the last week it's extended 27% to 62% in california. here's the fire from space, the satellite, and they'll continue to blow. still strong santa ana winds coming down the mountain . dry, humid warm air. there's no humidity in the air. vegetation very dry. this is critical for rapid fire growth. look at the red flag warnings, how huge they are throughout much of california. and you can also see for today the fire weather forecast is extremely dry throughout southern california . and, guys, this ridge is staying in place. it's not going anywhere soon. they're going to have big problems for at least the next 10 to 15 days.

>> does not bode well, especially this time of year. al, thank you very much.