Strong Santa Ana winds prompt warning for mountains

SAN DIEGO - Strong and gusty Santa Ana winds, low humidity levels and high temperatures prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag fire warning Monday in San Diego County.

The red flag warning went into effect at 3 Monday morning and will last until 8 p.m. Tuesday for the county mountains and valleys.

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Northeast winds of 15 to 30 miles per hour were expected Monday morning through Tuesday night, with gusts of 45 to 50 miles per hour, according to the NWS. Humidity was expected to drop to 5-10 percent Monday as well.

According to the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index, "While recent rains have reduced the risk for significant fire in most areas, it has not been eliminated."

A wind advisory went into effect at 6 a.m. Sunday in coastal areas of the county. It was set to expire at 6 Monday evening. A wind advisory also went into effect at midnight for the county deserts. That advisory was set to expire at 8 p.m.

Warm seasonal temperatures were also expected to add to the potential fire danger. High temperatures Monday will be 75 to 81 in the western valleys and foothills, 60 to 67 in the mountains and 78 in the deserts, NWS forecasters said.

A San Diego Gas and Electric representative said the utility company was not planning to shut down any power lines ahead of the fire weather, but will be on standby in case of an emergency.

"We don't have anything planned to proactively shut down lines, but we are going to be fully staffed in the event that the weather is severe and we need to make any efforts," SDGE spokeswoman Sabra Lattos told City News Service.

Winds were predicted to gradually decrease Tuesday night and Wednesday, and conditions will be warm and sunny the remainder of the week, forecasters said.