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Southland Fire Crews On High Alert Ahead Of Friday's Red Flag Warning

CAJON PASS (CBSLA) — Smoke from stubborn wildfires still burning in Northern California clouded the skies over Los Angeles Thursday.

"It was horrible," Spencer Gibber, a traveler, said. "It was worse than fog rolling in at one point."

But Southern California has its own wildfire concerns this weekend as crews try to wrap up the 170-acre Bruder Fire in Redlands ahead of a red flag warning that will create critical fire danger from L.A. to the Inland Empire Friday.

"It's a good thing the fire started prior to the wind event, which could have definitely spread it a lot quicker," Mike McClintock, San Bernardino County Fire Department battalion chief, said.

Another bit of good news is that most fire stations in Southern California now have their resources back home from the fires up north.

The bad news is that the combination of above-normal temperatures, low humidity and an incoming Santa Ana wind event increases the likelihood of large-scale fires.

"Some of our historical large fires in Southern California have been during red flag warning days," McClintock said. "Something that we can typically keep small becomes a challenge with the high winds — sometimes at 50 miles per hour."

And that's exactly what has been forecast Friday, with wind gusts from 40-50 miles per hour in the Cajon Pass, which is flanked by dry brush, and 20-30 mile per hour winds in both L.A. and Orange County mountain and foothill communities.

With hot, dry and windy conditions in the forecast, fire departments are reminding people to be extra careful.

"Try not to do anything that's careless fire-wise," McClintock said. "And if you see something, say something. Call 911."

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