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What does it take for a fire warning to be issued in San Diego County

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Posted at 3:10 PM, Jul 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-25 18:15:40-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- With wildfire season fast approaching and hot, dry conditions this week, it brings to mind questions about fire safety. So how does the county determine when to issue fire watches and warnings? 

Throughout the year, firefighters and the National Weather Service team up to constantly monitor changing weather conditions. A red flag warning is issued when weather events which may result in extreme fire behavior may happen within the next 24 hours.

A fire weather watch, on the other hand, is issued when weather fire weather conditions could exist within the next 12 to 72 hours.

Relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels and the possibility of dry lightning strikes, or any combination of the above, can cause a watch or warning.

The National Weather Service issues red flag warnings and fire weather watches to alert fire departments of critical weather and dry conditions that could lead to a rapid increase of wildfire activity.

During heightened fire danger, fire departments place more firefighters on duty and staff more fire engines. Cal Fire also staffs equipment 24 hours a day in case a fire does break out.

Check out a list of tips below: 


Defensible Space

  • Residents should make sure they have 100 feet of defensible space around structures.
  • Clear dead weeds and vegetation.
  • Remove leaves and needles from gutters.
  • Trim branches 6 feet from the ground.

Campfire Safety

  • Before starting a campfire, make sure you have a campfire permit and that they are permitted on the land you are visiting.
  • Afterwards, ensure that your campfire is properly extinguished.

Vehicle Safety

  • Never pull over in dry grass.
  • Ensure trailer chains don't drag on the ground.
  • Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained.
  • Have proper tire pressure to avoid driving on wheel rim.
  • Never let your brake pads wear too thin.

Equipment Use Safety

  • Never mow or trim dry grass on a Red Flag Warning Day. (Mow before 10 a.m. on a day when its not hot and windy).
  • Never use lawn mowers in dry vegetation.
  • Spark arresters are required in wildland areas on all portable gasoline powered equipment.