RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

Warm, dry conditions coupled with gusty Santa Ana Winds raised the threat of wildfire in the Inland Empire Monday, meteorologists said.

   The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the Inland  Empire until 6 p.m. Wednesday, saying winds would be strongest below the Cajon and Banning passes. A red flag warning is the agency's most serious fire-related warning.

   In addition to wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour, the Inland Empire today was likely to see a low daytime humidity of around 5 percent, an NWS advisory said.

   The red flag warning did not extent to the Coachella Valley or the mountains of Riverside County. However, a high wind warning was in effect for the latter.

   The National Weather Service scheduled a high wind warning for the mountains and the Inland Empire until noon Wednesday, saying sustained northeast winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour and gusts up to 50 to 55 mph were likely.

   A high wind warning is issued when hazardous winds capable of causing property damage are occurring or expected.

   ``The winds will make driving difficult, especially for motorists with high profile vehicles,'' an NWS advisory said. ``Watch for broken tree limbs and debris on roadways.''