For Southern California residents, the Santa Ana winds have always been an inconvenient nuisance. However, with "fire season" becoming more and more of an all year event, the Santa Anas, combined with fire and smoke, are increasingly growing more and more deadly and destructive. It was just last month that forecasters were calling the October winds the most powerful wind event in our area in decades. Unfortunately, they are just as strong right now and most of Los Angeles County is under a Red Flag warning until Tuesday evening. This means the humidity is in the single digits, the fire danger is extremely high even in dense urban areas and the air quality, especially in the Valley and the beach cities, is extremely unhealthful. 

Another concern is that certain communities in Ventura and LA may experience fire tornadoes due to the strong winds, multiple ongoing fires and parched vegetation (the Santa Anas are expected to peak in intensity tonight and Monday). When these whirling balls of fire are present, there is much less time than usual to evacuate an affected area. California has a long history of major wildfires, but what's new in the past few years is massive blazes that spread so quickly that some fire victims have been found in their cars trying to escape, as was the case with at least one couple in Malibu this weekend. Remain vigilant even if you are many miles away from the fires as strong winds could carry embers toward grass and other fuels that have not yet been burned, thus forcing the trajectory of the fire to change rapidly.

We housesellers cannot stress enough how important it is to keep updated with the most current information regarding the status of the fires currently being fought in Ventura and Los Angeles, as well as the changing air quality updates. Also, please know that even if you are far away from the fire zone, you may still be surrounded by falling ash and smoke. As of now, all canyon roads west of Santa Monica are closed and portions of the 101 and PCH have yet to reopen. Firefighters are experiencing limited access to some fire spots due to so many closed roads, so it is best if you are on the west side of the county to just remain home and indoors unless you have to attend to an emergency or something urgent. And, as always when these devastating situations arise, we send our most sincere thoughts and condolences to those of you who have been affected by this latest disaster.