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Fire danger peaks with return of Santa Ana winds

Data pix.

SAN DIEGO -- Santa Ana winds are expected to return to San Diego County on Thursday and Friday, raising the threat of wildfires in the region.

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning which will be in effect from 5 a.m. Thursday to 5 p.m. Friday in the county mountains and valleys. The alert denotes the potential for "critical fire weather conditions" across both areas.

San Diego Gas & Electric warned of preventative power shutoffs.

Winds out of the east and northeast are expected to hit speeds of 25- 35 mph by early Thursday morning, with isolated gusts up to 60 mph near mountain ridge tops, and daytime air-moisture levels will drop to 5-10 percent, with poor overnight recover, forecasters said.

"A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior" according to the NWS. "Use extreme caution with potential fire ignition sources."

The winds should become calmer late Friday and their origin will shift to the west by Saturday, forecasters said.

Temperatures will be slightly cooler Wednesday, then heat up on Thursday and Friday before a cooling trend starts Saturday. High temperatures could reach 85 degrees Wednesday near the coast, 92 inland, 95 in the western valleys, 86 in the mountains and 95 in the deserts.

SDG&E will provide updated notifications to customers within 24 hours of an anticipated power shutoff and again within one to four hours of a shutoff. The utility advised those who receive the notification to be prepared, making sure they have such emergency supplies as water, food, flashlights, extra batteries and cellphone battery packs.

Should any precautionary power shut-off last for more than 24 hours, the utility plans to open temporary aid centers where customers can get water and snacks, charge their cellphones, and get updates.

Residents can sign up for emergency alertsĀ here.

The following communities could be affected:

  • Alpine
  • Barona
  • Barrett Lake
  • Boulevard
  • Campo
  • Cuyamaca
  • Descanso
  • East Poway
  • East Valley Center
  • Julian
  • Mesa Grande
  • Mount Laguna
  • Palomar Mountain
  • Pine Valley
  • Potrero
  • Ramona
  • Rancho Bernardo (portions of)
  • Santa Ysabel
  • Shelter Valley
  • Viejas
  • Warner Spring
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