Red Flag Warning Expires But County Still in ‘Borderline Critical' Fire Conditions

"Conditions remain at borderline critical fire weather condition status," NBC 7 Meteorologist Dagmar Midcap said

While no warnings were in effect in San Diego County Thursday, the region was not clear of fire danger yet, weathercasters said, as humidity levels had little time to recover and windy conditions remain. 

NBC 7 meteorologist Dagmar Midcap said conditions will be dangerous through Friday afternoon. Until then, Santa Ana winds will continue to whip the county and humidity will stay between 5 and 15 percent in the mountains and deserts.

With the fire danger warning expired, a small vegetation fire was sparked overnight Thursday near the base of Cowles Mountain in Santee. No cause had been determined. 

"Even though the red flag warning expired and the high wind warning expired [Tuesday], conditions remain at borderline critical fire weather condition status," Midcap said.

Midcap said humidity should return to seasonal levels on Friday.

San Diego Gas & Electric cut power to more than 10,000 customers throughout the county as a wildfire prevention measure during the red flag warning period.

While power was restored to the majority of the more than 10,000 San DiegoGas & Electric customers who had their power shut off amid red flag warning conditions, nearly 4,000 customers may still be without electricity Thursday.

The utility company said they shut off power as a safety precaution. 

"We are not out of the woods yet," the utility's Twitter account informed customers on Wednesday. "Our meteorology team anticipates winds of 30-45 mph, with isolated gusts of 50-60 mph this morning."

Communities that remained affected on Thursday were in East County, including Santa Ysabel, Mount Laguna, Pine Hills, East Ramona, Ranchita, Borrego Springs, Palomar Mountain, Dulzura, Campo, Jamul and Cuyamaca.

Several San Diego County school districts canceled classes Tuesday and Wednesday due to the lack of power and on Thursday one district, Spencer Valley School District in Santa Ysabel, remained closed. 

During the red flag warning period, which started Sunday and was extended to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, firefighters fought several small brush fires across the county but all remained less than an acre.

The San Diego Fire Department said a catalytic converter was to blame for two spot fires Tuesday and Wednesday in the same spot along Los Penasquitos Canyon in Carmel Valley.

fire in Fallbrook briefly threatened nearby structures on Tuesday but was stopped by crews.  

Firefighters with San Diego Fire-Rescue Department aggressively tackled each wildfire that sparked, sending twice the average crew size, and had the fires out quickly. 

Crews have been on alert since the beginning of the Santa Ana conditions last week and several agencies, including San Diego Fire-Rescue, have increased staffing levels as a result. 

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