A four-day autumn heat wave will sweep San Diego's coast and inland valleys, bringing along dry conditions and fire danger.
The National Weather Service said a heat advisory will go into effect at 11 a.m. Tuesday, and it'll last through 5 p.m. Friday.
“We’re going to see a lot of sunshine for our Tuesday,” NBC 7's Ashley Matthews added in the First Alert Forecast. “It’s very low humidity, so we’re high fire danger, as well.”
The NWS said a heat advisory will bring highs in the 80s near the coast and temps in the 90s for inland areas. The valleys will see temps around 100.
“It’s going to be dry, hot with very low humidity, as well as Santa Ana winds gusting from the northeast at about 25 to 30 mph inland and in our mountains,” Matthews explained. “All of this increases fire danger.”
Matthews said some of those gusts will make themselves known Tuesday but they will be much stronger by Wednesday.
The NWS said locals should limit their time outside during the extreme heat. San Diego County is running some cool zones – with COVID-19 modifications – so if you’re looking for a respite from the heat, here’s some information on those spots.
Matthews said we will see a little bit of a drop in temperatures by Saturday and Sunday.
"About Sunday, we'll see 84 degrees as the high along the coast but other than that, still well above average temperatures," she added.
On the first day of the heat advisory Ramona reached the 90s, but that didn't stop pumpkin pickers from stopping by Mountain Valley Ranch to look for their next jack-o'-lantern canvas.
“I would say we’ve already doubled our sales at this time of the year, which we usually do for the whole 31 days (of October),” ranch owner Joyce Battaglia said.
Hot, dry weather in October is nothing new for San Diego. The conditions this time of year can sometimes create risky fire weather; this happened in October 2003 with the devastating Cedar Fire and in October 2007 with the Witch Fire.
California’s 2020 wildfire season has been one for the history books. Since the beginning of the year, more than 8,400 wildfires in the state have scorched more than 4 million acres, according the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. There have been 31 deaths related to California’s 2020 wildfires and more than 9,200 buildings have been destroyed.
Last month, the August Complex in the Coast Range between San Francisco and Oregon became California’s largest wildfire on record.
And now with the October heat, firefighters warn that California’s deadly wildfire season may not be over.
As of Oct. 8, more than 13,800 firefighters remained on the lines of 21 major wildfires across the state, Cal Fire said.
Just this past September, the Valley Fire scorched more than 16,000 acres near Alpine in San Diego’s East County.
With October’s reputation for California wildfires and this week’s heat advisory for the region, firefighters in San Diego County are on high alert, Isaac Sanchez with Cal Fire said.
Sanchez said the memories of the 2003 Cedar Fire are vivid and the lessons learned in that firefight are still used by crews to prepare for fire weather today.
“[It’s] the single significant event here in San Diego County,” Sanchez told NBC 7. “The event that we look back on and we compare to today. And when we do that, we do that with a sense of dread, of course.”
The fire season window that once typically ran from May to October in San Diego County now appears to be getting longer, possibly through as late as December.
“It’s hotter for longer periods of time, it’s dryer for longer periods of time and, of course, that wetting rain that we’re typically used to just isn’t coming like it used to come,” Sanchez explained.
But Sanchez said Cal Fire has adapted to the changes and is more prepared than ever.
Cal Fire has increased staffing and equipment, upgrading aircraft fleets like helicopters and, in the future, an airtanker.
“We are growing with the threat,” he said. “But it is a very real threat that the rest of the community and, of course, the rest of the agencies, that we all have to take very seriously.”