Firefighters ready for upcoming Santa Ana winds

CalFirefighters2

SAN DIEGO — Santa Ana winds, low humidity and above-average temperatures are expected to raise the risk of wildfires in parts of San Diego County this weekend.

A National Weather Service fire weather watch for the mountains warning of 25 to 30 mile per hour winds with gusts of 50 to 60 mph and humidity of just 5 to 15 percent will be in effect from 5 a.m. Sunday through that evening.

Forecasters said any fires that develop during the watch periods would likely spread rapidly. However, leftover moisture from this week’s rain is likely to mitigate the immediate risk of wildfires.

“San Diego and Riverside County fuel moistures are still elevated from recent rains,” according to the weather service. “They will take longer to dry out, resulting in a delayed onset of critical fire weather conditions until the weekend when northeast winds really pick up in those areas.”

Strong high pressure and offshore flow will also cause temperatures to soar west of the mountains, to as high as 10 to 18 degrees above average Sunday and Monday. Forecasters said those predicted highs would be sufficient to meet heat advisory criteria in the coastal and valley areas.

Advisory strength winds could also be possible along coastal mountain slopes into adjacent inland valleys Sunday into Monday.

“Those downslope winds could push high temperatures in some coastal areas into the 90s,” according to the weather service.