Santa Ana winds to increase fire danger over the next week in San Diego County
City News Service
2:34 PM, Dec 3, 2017
2:35 PM, Dec 3, 2017
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The National Weather Service predicts powerful Santa Ana winds and low humidity in Southern California over the next week, increasing the risk of wildfires throughout the region.
The predicted wind event, with forecasts of gusts as high as 65 miles per hour in the San Diego County mountains, prompted the NWS to issue a red flag warning and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department to increase staffing.
Fire officials said several years of drought coupled with heavy rains last winter created significant fire fuel in the form of underbrush and grass.
The high winds will spread into the San Diego region Monday afternoon and evening. Forecasters predict northeast winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts of about 55 mph and isolated gusts up to 65 mph.
Daytime humidity will be as low as five to 10 percent, forecasters said. Strong, widespread winds were predicted from Monday night and Tuesday, and they will be possible again late Wednesday night and Thursday.
The red flag warning will conclude at 12 a.m. Friday morning. Winds were expected to weaken but still continue throughout Friday and Saturday.
Forecasters warned any fires that develop will spread rapidly, and recommended avoiding any activities that can spark a fire.
San Diego Fire-Rescue will increase staff through Thursday by adding two strike teams of 10 brush rigs each, one strike team of five fire engines, two water tenders and two helicopters, according to department spokeswoman Monica Munoz.
Dispatcher staffing will also be increased, Munoz said. Fire officials said in the event of a wildfire, it is not necessary for residents wait for an evacuation order, and recommended residents leave early on their own.