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What are the Santa Ana winds?

Published On: Jul 28 2011 11:47:59 AM EDT

The Santa Ana winds are hot, dry winds that aggravate the fire danger in forests and bush lands.

These winds characteristically appear in Southern California and Northern Baja California weather during the autumn and early winter months.

They can range from hot to cold, depending on the prevailing temperatures in the source regions, the Great Basin and upper Mojave Desert.


The winds are known for the hot dry weather (often the hottest of the year) that they bring in the fall, and are infamous for fanning regional wildfires.

In southern California, under the influence of Santa Ana winds, wildfires can move at tremendous speeds, up to 40 miles in a single day, consuming up to 1,000 acres per hour.

Dense clouds of burning embers push ahead of the flames crossing firebreaks without a problem.