Today's high winds could make California's deadly fires even more dangerous

  • The deadly wildfires continue to engulf California, leaving at least 48 people dead and tens of thousands of acres of land torched.
  • Southern California is forecasted to be hit with strong Santa Ana winds on Wednesday.
  • High winds remove the moisture from vegetation, making it easier for small fires to grow, and push the flames further along.
  • They could make the ongoing Woolsey Fire unpredictable and harder for firefighters to control.

Southern California will be hit with strong Santa Ana winds on Wednesday, which could make the deadly wildfires more unpredictable harder to control.

In its latest update, the National Weather Service (NWS) warned that “winds will be particularly strong” on Wednesday morning, coupled with “very low relative humidity and extremely dry ground from ongoing drought.”

NWS Los Angeles on Tuesday night recorded winds moving at 44 mph with gusts of up to 59 mph.

High winds remove moisture from the already dry vegetation on the land, making it easier for small fires to grow into larger flames, Wired reported. They also push winds further along at higher speeds.

For this reason, the gusts can make fires unpredictable and harder for firefighters to control, National Geographic reported.

Read more: Malibu is burning: Wildfires are spreading through southern California, and photos show a hellscape on the ground

The Woolsey and Camp Fires started spreading across California last Thursday, and continue to rage on. The flames have been stoked by dry, windy conditions, and have destroyed hundreds of building across the state so far.

As of early Wednesday morning, the fires have killed at least 48 people – more than any fire in state history. More than 200 people are missing.

The Woolsey Fire has so far engulfed 94,000 acres of land in Southern California, while the Camp Fire has torched 117,000 in Northern California, CNN reported on Tuesday night.

The NWS warned that the Woolsey Fire destruction could rise due to the winds.

California’s natural hillsides and canyons also both help fires grow and make it harder for firefighters to put them out, National Geographic said.

It’s not safe to put ground crew directly on rough terrain, California Fire Foundation foundation chairman Brian Rice told the magazine.

The NWS expects the winds to weaken by Wednesday evening.

Read more: How to help those affected by the California wildfires and the heroes fighting them

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