Gusty Santa Ana winds prompt Red Flag warning for San Diego County

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Red Flag warning was issued for Friday as gusty Santa Ana winds swirling in San Diego County heighten fire weather conditions.

The National Weather Service initially issued a fire weather watch from Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon, but forecasters said that “gusty offshore winds and low humidities will elevate the fire weather threat,” prompting the Red Flag warning for the mountains and inland valleys.

The Red Flag warning is expected to take effect 3 a.m. Friday and expire at 10 p.m. in the evening.

Alpine resident Al Haven, who lost his house in the West Fire in July, is taking precautions. He has made sure there aren't any dead shrubs near his home that could act as fuel.

"I’ve lived up here a long time. Sometimes the fire will get so bad it’ll just run through your house. This last fire started and moved faster than a man can run," Haven said.

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According to the NWS, “The strongest northeast winds will be in the mountain passes and foothills, and in the Inland Empire below the Cajon Pass with gusts from 35 to 45 mph. Afternoon humidity will fall to around 15 percent on Friday. Fire weather conditions will improve slightly on Saturday with somewhat lighter winds and higher humidities of around 20 percent.”

"Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly," NWS forecasters said.

San Diego County residents were urged to avoid outdoor burning during the fire weather watch and pay attention to any NWS alerts.

High temperatures Thursday were expected to be 82 to 87 degrees in the western valleys, 76 to 81 degrees near the foothills and 67 to 73 in the mountains.

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