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Unusual heatwave, winds cause elevated fire risk across San Diego

Unusual heatwave San Diego County
Posted at 6:37 PM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 09:51:10-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — From the beaches to the inland and mountain areas, the return of Santa Ana winds brought hot and dry weather to San Diego County on Thursday.

The conditions will last for a few days.

Ocean Beach was packed Thursday afternoon as people took advantage of the unusually warm weather for mid-November.

While the hot, dry, and windy conditions made for a good day for the beach, it's also a recipe for elevated fire risk.

"Even with a weak Santa Ana, these fires can so go very fast, very quickly because all the brush is already at critical field moisture," Captain Thomas Shoots with Cal Fire San Diego County said.

Shoots said the department remains at peak staff as they were during the summer.

He said there were no fires regionally or major incidents Thursday, but they are staying ready.

"That's the good thing. the bad thing is that when these wind events come on and they always come on this time of year, everything's had all summer to dry out," Shoots said.

Shoots said even if there are no fires this weekend, the extremely dry and hot conditions take away any progress made by the heavy rainfall a couple of weeks ago.

"It makes the fire situation more challenging going forward because we're basically setting back to where we were before the rain and now we're going to have all this brush that's even dryer than it was before," he said.

Still, Shoots said the fire season has been mostly calm this year compared to Northern California, but that doesn't mean they're letting their guard down.

"We know the potential's still high in San Diego County, especially this time of year and we want people to know hey this can happen at any time and you need to take it serious," he said.

The fire captain said it's important to be proactive rather than reactive.

This includes maintaining overgrown vegetation and clearing brush from your yard once things cool down.

Also, Shoots said to have an evacuation plan in place in case of a fire.

"You may not have much time to get out of your home safely and evacuate so have the stuff ready, have the go-bag ready," he said,