Winds were forecasted to pick up in southwest Riverside County valleys this week, prompting officials to warn of dangerous fire weather conditions.
A red flag warning is expected to be in effect beginning Thursday evening until early Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service advised.
"Winds will increase Thursday evening and remain strong through Friday," NWS stated in the red flag warning issued Wednesday.
"In addition to strong winds, humidity will fall into the upper single digits to low teens Friday afternoon...very dry conditions will continue through the weekend."
A red flag warning means warm temperatures and low humidity create "explosive fire growth potential," NWS stated.
Winds of 20 to 30 mph—with gusts up to 55 and 65 mph—were forecast.
The temperatures in southwest Riverside County were expected to climb to the upper 80s or low 90s Friday and Saturday.
Murrieta fire Chief Matt Shobert said he will be monitoring the wind situation.
"It is the start of the Santa Ana winds season; in the fire service we call this a wind event weekend," Shobert said.
"While we have had some moisture and our temperatures are down, certainly these winds could create a devastating fire scenario.
"As we realized over the past month or so, Murrieta is not immune to catastrophic wildland fires. We would ask our residents to once again be cautious with smoking materials, barbecue grills and spark-producing tools."