Firefighters on Alert Despite Red Flag Warning Cancellation

Santa Ana conditions are still expected

By Danya Bacchus
|  Thursday, Oct 27, 2011  |  Updated 8:05 AM PDT
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San Diego's 2011 Fire Season

Getty Images/David McNew

Wednesday's red flag warning was canceled but residents shouldn't rest easy Cal-Fire said.

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Even though the Red Flag Warning expected to take effect Wednesday evening was canceled by the National Weather Service, local firefighters are still keeping an eye on weather conditions.

“Some of the most devastating fires in San Diego County have been in the month of October," said Cal-Fire Captain Mike Mohler.

"We haven’t had a major fire siege since 2007. So unfortunately, it’s not if we’re going to have a fire but when we’re going to have another devastating wildfire,” Mohler explained.

Parts of San Diego County saw rain early Wednesday.

Mohler said he doesn’t want people to get a false sense of security that we don’t have the chance for a wildfire.

“The humidity can dry up moisture within a few hours so be prepared,” he said.

The Red Flag Warning was initially prompted by forecasts for high winds coupled with low humidity levels, had been slated for mountain and inland valley areas.

Late Wednesday, the NWS said local conditions no longer met red-flag criteria thought gusts up to 35 mph were still possible.

It was late October 2007 when wildfires burned throughout San Diego causing 500,000 to evacuate their homes.

The Witch, Guejito and Rice Fires burned more than 350,000 acres in the north and northeast section of San Diego, costing taxpayers nearly $20 million to fight.

The Witch Fire was the second biggest ever in the county, exceeded only by the Cedar Fire in 2003, which is the biggest fire in California's history.

What started as a 20-acre fire in the East County ended up burning more than 280,000 acres. Fifteen people died in the fire. Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo were two communities that saw the most damage.

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