Santa Ana winds bring 'extreme' fire danger to San Diego on Thursday

Posted at 11:39 AM, Dec 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-07 08:12:28-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The strongest Santa Ana winds San Diego will experience this week will hit the region Thursday, as wildfires rage in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.

A Red Flag for San Diego County's coastline and mountains is active through 6 p.m. Saturday, with the hardest wind speeds expected overnight into Thursday, according to forecasters.

Northeasterly and easterly winds of 20 to 40 miles per hour and gusts of 45 to 60 mph - with isolated gusts of 70 to 90 mph - are possible Thursday.  Winds will be strong enough to down trees and power lines, cause roof damage, and make travel potential hazardous.

Humidity levels will be between 5 and 10 percent as well.

10NEWS WEATHER: Wind speeds in the region

Thursday's wildfire danger will be "extreme," according to the U.S. Forest Service. The service warns potential fires, "will spread very rapidly through all fuel types. Any new fires will have a high probability of becoming large in a short period of time."

San Diego County's fire danger level decreases to "moderate" on Friday.

FIND YOUR COUNTY'S THREAT LEVEL: Santa Ana wildfire danger index

SDG&E is staging crews and contract firefighters in areas with the highest wind speeds this week. The company may cut power to these areas too to minimize the risk of wind causing power-related fires.

As of 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, there were six unplanned power outages.

  • Near Stallion Oaks: Viejas/ W Descanso/ Boulder Creek
  • SE of Pine Valley: Live Oak Springs/ Boulevard/ Jacumba, Japatul Valley/ Buckman Springs/ Morena Village
  • North of Live Oak Springs: Live Oak Springs/ Boulevard/ Jacumba
  • In Boulevard: Live Oak Springs/ Boulevard/ Jacumba
  • Pala: Rainbow/ Rice Canyon/ Pala Mesa Village
  • Rincon: Valley Center/ Rincon/ Pauma Valley, Rincon/ La Jolla Indian Res/ Hellhole Canyon, La Jolla Indian Res/ Mesa Grande/ Santa Ysabel, Palomar Mountain/ Lake Henshaw
  • Pine Hills: Santa Ysabel/ Wynola/ Pine Hills

FIND WIND DANGER IN YOUR AREA: SDG&E wind speed dashboard

Strong Santa Ana winds and dry conditions have fed wildfires in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. The largest of the wildfires - the Thomas Fire - has burned more than 65,000 acres and forced tens of thousands of residents from their homes.

RELATED: Wildfires burning in Ventura, Los Angeles Counties: What we know

With high winds and increased fire danger, city officials warned residents to use good judgment to minimize risks of starting a fire.

"Because the relative humidity is so low, the winds are expected and our brush is really dry, a fire can easily be started by a small spark. Using power tools in the area of brush is not recommended right now," said San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesperson Monica Munoz.

RELATED: San Diego County's "Ready, Set, Go!" preparedness plan

If residents see or smell smoke, the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Department recommended residents call 9-1-1 as a precaution.

"If you think you see or smell smoke in the area, go ahead and call 911. They will send an engine to do a smoke check. We'd rather check and find nothing than have what appears to be nothing turn out to be something," the department wrote on Twitter.