San Diego’s Fire Threat Increased in Dry, Windy Conditions

Coastal areas and inland valleys will be breezy

While Southern California as a whole will be dealing with gusty Santa Ana winds, San Diego County should only experience a weak Santa Ana event, with peak wind gusts to 35 mph.

San Diego County mountain crests and coastal foothills could see wind gusts of 25 mph, beginning this evening, topping out around 35 mph Friday morning.

San Diego is not under a wind advisory.

Coastal areas and inland valleys will be breezy. Winds are forecast to gradually decrease into Friday afternoon.

Areas to the north, including Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, are under a Wind Advisory. Those areas could see gusts of 40-50 mph, as conditions strengthen into Friday.

As of midmorning Thursday, firefighters battling a brush fire in Montecito (near Santa Barbara) were dealing with winds out of the north of 15-30 mph, with gusts to 35 mph.

"Santa Barbara and Los Angeles are forecast to have stronger winds, because their mountain ranges run in a more west to east fashion. Northerly winds are easily funneled through the mountain passes, where they pick up speed," explained NBC 7's Meteorologist Jodi Kodesh. "That will actually help San Diego a little, because our mountain ranges run north to south, and it's the true easterly winds that tend to bring us the stronger Santa Ana events."

Nonetheless, Kodesh stressed that our local fire danger will still be elevated, due to the windy and dry weather.

"Afternoon humidity levels that are usually 30-50% will drop to the teens and low twenties," she said.

Cal Fire is fully staffed in case some of the dry brush around the county sparks.

Even with above average rainfall, Cal Fire spokesman Kendal Bortisser said the fire danger is still very real.

"We're also on a staffing pattern which includes putting our bulldozers on 24 hours a day, insuring that all of our reserve engines are covered so that in the event if anything should happen, we're able to make a strong attack from the air and from the ground," he said.

Jose Hernandez, owner of Dulzura Mini Market, told NBC 7 Thursday that no matter how big or small the Santa Ana event is, he gets nervous.

"It's kind of getting dry out here so it kind of worries me, especially around these old buildings having everything dried out," Hernandez said. "We got bamboo right here so I mean, all it takes is a little bit of light and it lights up quick, so it does get me a little spooked."

Late tonight, wind advisories will go into effect for Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Those areas could see wind gusts to 40 mph, also peaking Friday.

Though San Diego is left out of the wind advisory, a coastal flood advisory remains in effect for San Diego beaches, through 9 p.m. Thursday.

High surf bring a threat of flooding along low-lying areas.

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