SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Gusting Santa Ana winds and dangerously dry conditions are expected to return to the region Wednesday evening and on Thanksgiving Day, prompting forecasters to issue a Red Flag warning of critical fire danger that will continue into Friday.
The warning will be in effect from 9 p.m. Wednesday until 6 p.m. Friday for San Diego County mountains and inland valleys.
According to the National Weather Service, the forecast calls for east winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts reaching 55 mph, and some isolated gusts as high as 65 mph in "wind-favored" locations.
Humidity levels will fall to between 5% and 15%.
"Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly," according to the NWS. "Outdoor burning is not recommended."
The winds are expected to diminish by the weekend, along with a gradual recovery in humidity.
With the increased fire danger, San Diego Gas & Electric officials asked its customers earlier this week to be prepared for possible Public Safety Power Shutoffs on Thanksgiving Day through Saturday.
The utility said cutting power was a last resort tool to prevent its electrical system from causing a wildfire. Factors such as wind speeds, vegetation moisture, temperatures, and humidity are all evaluated before a potential shutoff.
SDG&E has activated its Emergency Operations Center in preparation for a power shutoff possibility.
For more information on SDG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoffs, visit www.sdge.com/psps-dashboard.
San Diego County government officials on Wednesday asked residents to stay alert for wildfires, and refrain from using power tools outdoors, including lawn mowers, as they can potentially spark on rocks and ignite grass or brush fires. Instead, residents should use hand tools to remove dead or dying plants near their homes.
The county also reminded residents to maintain defensible fire space around their homes and remove dead leaves, debris and other flammable items, such as wood piles, that are stacked against structures.
During a high fire season, people should also:
- be careful with smoking materials to avoid accidentally starting a fire
- never pull their vehicle over in grass as it can ignite a blaze, and make sure their vehicle is well maintained
- if their vehicle has a trailer, make sure its chains don't drag on the ground while driving