As relentless wildfires destroy communities in Northern California and Ventura County, dangerous fire-prone weather conditions will resurface in San Diego beginning Sunday.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said a red flag warning would be in effect from 6 a.m. Sunday through 5 p.m. Tuesday as strong, gusty winds and low humidity hits the San Diego County coast.
The NWS expects winds to increase out of the east at 15 to 25 mph, with gusts up to 30 to 40 mph. The winds will be at their strongest Monday through Tuesday north of Oceanside and between Encinitas and La Jolla Monday and Tuesday afternoon and evening, per the NWS.
Meanwhile, relative humidity levels will drop into the single digits, adding to the heightened fire risk.
“This is extremely dry, extremely dangerous,” said NBC 7 weathercaster Brooke Landau Saturday morning, adding that Saturday’s favorable weather conditions are only “the calm before the storm.”
“Things are really going to change dramatically as we make our way into Sunday,” she explained.
Inland and mountain areas could see sustained wind gusts anywhere between 50 mph and 60 mph during this latest red flag warning, Landau said.
On Friday, Cal Fire Capt. Isaac Sanchez told NBC 7 that under these types of conditions, "all it's going to take is a small spark" to set off a potentially large and destructive wildfire like the ones ravaging the northern and southern regions of the state.
Sanchez urged San Diego residents to remain alert.
“Be prepared,” he added. “Be prepared for the effects of fire and let’s practice caution going into next week.”
"As we remember the tragic fires that occurred in October and December of last year, they should serve as a stark reminder for everyone to be prepared for the unexpected," Cal Fire Director Chief Ken Pimlott said earlier this week.
California endured some of the state’s worst wildfires on record in 2017, including the October Fire Siege in the wine country and the December Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
The Tubbs Fire in the October Fire Siege – fanned by persistent winds in Sonoma and Napa counties – destroyed 5,643 buildings and resulted in 21 deaths. It burned 36,807 acres.
The Thomas Fire, also fanned by gusts, quickly grew into one of the largest fires on record in California, ultimately burning 281,893 acres. It destroyed 1,063 structures, including homes. Two people died in the fire, including a firefighter.
To prepare for the red flag warning, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) increased its staffing into the weekend, adding crews and two firefighting helicopters to its arsenal.
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Meanwhile, some local crews have also been dispatched to Ventura County to help battle the Woosley and Hill fires there, which have forced 200,000 evacuations in communities northwest of Los Angeles.
As of Saturday morning, at least 150 homes had been destroyed in those fires, which burned 70,000 acres.
In Northern California, the fast-moving Camp Fire had torched at least 100,000 acres by Saturday morning, killing nine people and destroying 6,700 structures in its path. Entire neighborhoods in that region have been leveled, including the Sierra Nevada foothill town of Paradise. As of 11 a.m. Saturday, the Camp Fire was 20 percent contained.
For information on how to prepare for a wildfire in San Diego, visit this website.