San Diego

Record-Breaking Heat, Low Humidity Increase Fire Danger for Southern California

San Diego Vista, El Cajon, Alpine, Ramona could either tie or break heat records today

Southern California was under a red flag warning Monday, signifying a high risk of wildfire amid a heat wave, gusty Santa Ana winds, and low humidity.

Record-breaking temperatures and near-zero humidity were in the forecast for San Diego County.

A red flag warning was issued, advising that if a fire starts there is the potential for "very rapid spread,'' the National Weather Service said. 

The warning will be in effect for San Diego County deserts, mountains and valleys through Wednesday due to low humidity, high temperatures, and gusty winds,  according to NBC 7’s First Alert forecast.

Cal Fire and San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) officials have increased staffing as a precaution. 

"We’re in this for the long haul. We have to be ready and have things in place if anything should start," said Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser.

The high in the city of San Diego today was forecast at 93 degrees, which would match the previous record high for the date set in 1965. 

If Vista hits its expected high of 102, it will break the previous record high of 99 set in 1965. 

El Cajon is expected to touch 100 to match the previous record high set in 2003, while Ramona's forecast of 99 would break its previous record high for the date, also set in 2003. 

If Alpine hits its forecast high of 99, it will break the previous Oct. 23 record of 98 set in 1959.

With temperatures expected in the mid-90s along the coast, 85 schools in the San Diego Unified School District moved to minimum-day schedules.

There was also a wind advisory in effect with gusts around 45 miles per hour possible until 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Winds were at their strongest around sunrise, according to NBC 7 weather anchor Whitney Southwick. He said the forecast calls for stronger winds Tuesday.

"At times, blowing 35-45 mph with gusts potentially hitting 60 mph," Southwick said adding that strong winds could occur along the coast from Camp Pendleton to Mira Mesa.

San Diego County residents should be prepared and have an emergency plan ready in case of an evacuation.

"If you haven’t yet talked to your family about an emergency plan, there’s no time like the present," said SDFD Fire Chief Brian Fennessy. "Putting a plan in place and practicing that plan will give you the best chance of staying safe during an emergency."


The precautions come amid the 10th anniversary of San Diego's devastating and deadly Witch Creek Fire, and as firefighters in Northern California continue to battle nine wildfires burning across the state in the deadliest series of fires in California’s history.

The October Fire Siege – which began on Oct. 8 – has spawned 21 wildfires that burned more than 245,000 acres, forcing evacuations and destroying 6,900 structures. Forty-two people died in the costly wildfires.

Cal Fire said San Diego residents should be cautious during this fire danger period and remember the motto: "one less spark means one less wildfire."

Evacuation tips can be found at this website.

The onshore flow returns Thursday bringing cooler temperatures, winds from the west and recovering humidity levels, Southwick said.

Download the free NBC 7 mobile app to stay updated on the heat and fire conditions.

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