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Christmas stockings hang from a fireplace at a home destroyed in an October wildfire in the Coffey Park area of Santa Rosa, Calif, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

(Bloomberg) – Dry and warm gusts blowing in from the desert have elevated the wildfire risk in Southern California to critical, several weeks after deadly flames tore through wine country to the north.

The strongest Santa Ana winds of the season threaten more than 14,000 square miles (36,260 square kilometers) covering a population in excess of 19.9 million, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. That includes Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino. They’re expected to last through Thursday.

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