A red flag warning, indicating increased wildfire danger, is in effect Thursday and Friday as hot, dry and windy conditions move into San Diego.
Severe Weather Warnings
The warning is in effect until 6 p.m. Friday with increased temperatures and winds expected. The coast could see a high of 80 degrees with 100 degree temperatures in the desert.
Southern California is experiencing a rash of fires well before the traditional wildfire season. Some as big as the Summit Fire burning thousands of acres near Banning. Others are as small as Wednesday's fire at Fox Canyon in City Heights.
Both types can be equally frightening.
"I don't want it to be burned. I have things that cannot be replaced,” City Heights homeowner Sean Tran said.
Flames surrounded Tran's home and had it not been for firefighters that could have also been destroyed.
“When it touches the draft will lift the fire up. It happened really fast,” Tran said.
“It may look green and lush on top but as we look at the bottom it's very, very brittle and ready to burn, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler said of the vegetation.
Cal Fire says the potential for wildfires drastically increases in these conditions. Blazing sun, strong winds and gusts, plus low humidity.
For the second time this year, the organization has had to increase staffing. San Diego County has 26 engines on standby up eight from just Tuesday. The available hand crews were increased from four to 18 and there are four more water tenders at the ready. Cal Fire also has extra support staff at the airport in dispatch centers.
Ordinarily there would not be this kind of call up until June or July.
Winds up to 60 mph could be seen in the mountains and valley areas through Friday.
Red flag warnings this early in the season conjure up visions of the Cedar Fire in 2003 and the Harris Fire in 2007.
Hundreds of thousands of acres burned, millions in property destroyed one life lost and three firefighters injured.
It is a memory most have put behind them and hope never to repeat.
“Make sure you have that defensible space we talk about so much. Have and evacuation plan and listen to law enforcement when they ask you to leave,” Battalion Chief Schuler said.