SAN DIEGO - Strong and gusty Santa Ana winds, low humidity and high temperatures will persist Friday, with a red flag warning denoting a strong risk of wildfire in effect for the San Diego County mountains and valleys.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning that went into effect at 10 a.m. Thursday in the county mountains and valleys and lasts until 10 p.m. Friday. The NWS also issued a high wind warning for the county mountains and valleys that remains in effect until 6 p.m. Friday.
Along with low humidity levels, the strong Santa Ana winds blowing north to northeast are to blame for the fire danger, with winds of 20 to 30 mph in the forecast and gusts near 55 mph possible near the top of the county mountains, according to the NWS. Humidity was expected to drop to 3-8 percent Friday.
Fuels are very dry and fires will grow rapidly and be difficult to control upon ignition, according to the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index.
Warm seasonal temperatures were also expected to add to the potential fire danger. High temperatures Friday will be 81 to 86 degrees in the western valleys, 73 to 78 near the foothills and 60 to 69 in the mountains, NWS forecasters said.
With the heightened fire danger, authorities recommended that residents avoid outdoor burning 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."
Low humidity with poor overnight recovery will continue through at least the middle of next week and another round of gusty Santa Ana winds is expected Sunday and Monday, NWS forecasters said.