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Increased Risk of Wildfire Prompts CalFire to Add Fire Crews

Strong winds, warm weather and low humidity have combined to raise the wildfire risk in San Diego County and the surrounding region.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Cal Fire has added additional firefighters ahead of strong winds expected to develop tonight as Red Flag conditions develop across San Diego County.

Gusty winds were expected to develop tonight, then combine with warm weather and low relative humidity to raise the risk of wildfires in San Diego County's mountains and inland valleys through mid-week.

"A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, above normal temperatures and very low fuel moisture will contribute to extreme fire behavior," according to the National Weather Service said.

A Red Flag Warning was scheduled to go into effect at midnight and extend until 6 p.m. Wednesday for valley and mountain areas including the Palomar and Descanso ranger districts of the Cleveland National Forest.

The NWS said that vegetation was much drier than normal for this time of year because of the lack of precipitation. Relative humidity could fall to around 5 percent, forecasters said.

A wind advisory, set to take effect at 6 p.m., will give way to a more severe high wind warning at 6 p.m. Monday.

East to northeast winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts of up to 45 mph are likely, according to the NWS. Gusts of up to 60 mph will be possible near the foothills Monday night through Wednesday morning.

"Though Cal Fire has year-round staffing in Southern California, these conditions warrant adding additional resources on for the duration of the Red Flag conditions that bring an elevated threat of wildfire," Southern Region Chief Dale Hutchinson said.

Cal Fire has placed additional firefighters on duty to staff extra equipment and augment normal staffing. Officials with the agency asked residents to be cautious during the heightened fire danger.

A spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said that the decision to staff additional resources would be made by the city's fire chief.

—City News Service

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