Forecasted Santa Ana winds prompted the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department to increase staffing while San Diego Gas & Electric prepares to cut off power to hundreds of customers if weather conditions get out of control.
The agencies made the moves amid gusty and dry Santa Ana conditions that have the potential to fan any fire that sparks.
From 8 a.m. Sunday until 8 p.m. Monday, SDFD firefighters’ pilots and crew will be on overtime to combat any fires that pop up within the county, according to Monica Muñoz with SDFD.
“We are preparing for this weather event, we don’t expect extreme fire weather potential but even a small Santa Ana in these days can cause a rapidly growing fire so we’re preparing to protect the public,” said Deputy Chief for SDFD, Steve Wright.
Santa Ana winds expected across #SoCal Sunday through Tuesday. The strongest winds will be Sunday night-Monday morning. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/ipPTtgmgW2— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) October 19, 2019
Meanwhile, SDG&E alerted more than 1,000 customers in the Boulder Creek, Boulevard, Cameron, Crestwood, La Posta, Valley Center and Viejas communities that their power may be shut off if extreme weather conditions that could lead to a fire, like Santa Ana winds.
The strongest winds are expected in the foothills, mountains and deserts between Sunday night through Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
Mountains can expect gusty winds reaching up to 40 miles per hour, according to NBC 7 Weathercaster Danica McAdam.
No watches or warnings were in effect for Monday but local officials still urged caution over the next few days.
“Be careful of what you’re doing especially handling any hot smoking material with a camp fire, cooking fire, and be cognizant of the weather,” Wright explained.
Five additional brush engines, two water tenders and two firefighting helicopters will be available around the clock Sunday and Monday, SDFD confirmed.
“Our concern is that multiple fires will start in a further geographic area away from each other and we will need extra resources,” said Wright.
On Monday, Mayor Faulconer will urge residents to be alert and report fire hazards following a slew of small blazes started in canyons, parks and open spaces.
Over the weekend, a small brush fire erupted along SR-94 near Lemon Grove. Crews made quick work of the blaze and had it knocked down within 45 minutes.
On Tuesday, a brush fire burning in a canyon near homes in the Talmadge area forced evacuations along multiple streets -- including a high school -- and resulted in the loss of power for thousands.
The city said it added eight new fire engines and two brush engines in June. A new helicopter will also be deployed soon, a press release said.
October is a notorious month for elevated wildfire danger across San Diego County.