SAN DIEGO — Fire officials want to remind residents not to be alarmed when Santa Ana winds cause a wind advisory or red flag warning, but instead be prepared.
Captain Thomas Shoots, with Cal Fire San Diego, says over the last 10 to 20 years there has been a shift in fire season.
“What we are seeing now is really is a year-round fire season statewide,” Shoots said.
Santa Ana winds will subside through Sunday, but Shoots says it doesn’t take high gusts to fuel a fire throughout the year.
“We get little pockets of hope where we don’t have as much fire activity – when there is snow on the ground, when there is downpouring rain of course, but really those events are buying us some time,” the fire captain said.
An example of a year-round fire is the Colorado Fire burning in Big Sur, which is closing both directions of the iconic Highway 1 in Monterey County.
“That is an area that typically gets more rainfall than San Diego,” Shoots said. “It just shows the potential down here. We keep getting relatively lucky in San Diego and Southern California as a whole, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the potential to burn this time of year.”
According to Shoots, Cal Fire San Diego is sending five engine strike teams and two handcrews for a total of 46 firefighting personnel.
“Hopefully it’s going to be a quick trip and they are able to come back in a few days, but really we don’t know until it is completely out and those winds certainly played a factor up there last night,” he said.
Shoots advises residents shouldn’t be alarmed, but prepared in case of an emergency.
“Have a plan for your pets, have a plan for your livestock and do all of that ahead of time so if the need arises and you do have to evacuate, you are able to do so safely with your family in the calmest manner possible,” he said.