Red flag warning continues in San Diego County through Wednesday

Warning extended by National Weather Service


Last updated 11/12/2018 at 11:14am

SAN DIEGO - Strong and gusty Santa Ana winds, low humidity and warm temperatures will persist today, with a red flag warning denoting a strong risk of wildfire in effect in the San Diego County mountains and valleys.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning that went into effect at 6 a.m. Sunday in the county mountains, valleys, and coastal areas and lasts until 5 p.m. Wednesday. The NWS also issued a high wind warning in the mountains and valleys that remains in effect until 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Along with low humidity levels, the strong Santa Ana winds blowing northeast are to blame for the fire danger, with winds of 20 to 30 mph in the forecast and gusts of 60 mph possible in the county mountains and foothills, according to the NWS. Winds are expected to increase to 30 to 40 mph with gusts of 70 mph possible tonight through Tuesday morning.

Humidity levels will remain in the single digits today with no recovery overnight, according to the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index. Fuels are very dry and fires will grow rapidly, burn intensely and be difficult to control upon ignition.

Warm seasonal temperatures were also expected to add to the potential fire danger. High temperatures today will be 75 to 80 degrees in the western valleys, 66 to 71 near the foothills and 54 to 62 in the mountains, NWS forecasters said.

As of 11:30 p.m. Sunday, San Diego Gas & Electric shut off power to around 1,000 customers in the Descanso, Buckman Springs and Pine Valley areas as a safety precaution because of the high winds and low humidity, according to SDG&E.

The outages could last until the red flag warning expires Tuesday afternoon and four resource centers are available for residents affected by the outages.

With the heightened fire danger, authorities recommended that residents avoid outdoor burning, using lawn mowers or power tools outside and have emergency preparedness kits in order.

"An emergency can happen at any time,'' a forecaster said in a statement on the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index Website. "Clean debris away from your house. Charge your cell phone and make sure you have plenty of gas.''

In Los Angeles and Ventura counties, Santa Ana winds drove a large wildfire that prompted the evacuation of at least 75,000 homes, officials said.

The Woolsey fire, which broke out Thursday afternoon, has scorched 85,500 acres and destroyed at least 177 structures.

Cal Fire projected full containment of the blaze won't come until Nov. 17.


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