Single-Digit Humidity and Winds Combine to Create Increased Fire Danger

What will trigger an elevated fire risk are low humidity levels and gusty winds.

Dry conditions and gusty winds will combine to create an increased fire risk in parts of San Diego County Tuesday. 

The most vulnerable areas will be local mountain passes and desert slopes, according to the National Weather Service.

Humidity levels will drop into the single digits, NBC 7's Llarisa Abreu said. 

The dry air will stay parked over San Diego County through the end of the week.

During the afternoon and evening, winds will peak through the mountain passes and desert floors. Peak wind gusts can reach 30 to 40 mph. 

Residents in Alpine are very mindful of winds and the impact they can have on fire after the West Fire burned more than 500 acres in July; wind gusts got up to about 20 mph Tuesday.

“Winds are going to peak in the afternoon or early evening hours,” Abreu said. “This could make travel difficult for high-profile vehicles.”

The first Santa Ana wind event of the season for Southern California could occur on Thursday, Sept. 27, according to analysts with the U.S. Forest Service. 

“Everyone's kind of on nerves. All we need is a little Santa Ana right now, and nobody's sleeping,” said Dave Spiro of Japutal.

Just after 1:30 p.m., a small fire broke out off Interstate 8 at Willows Rd. Crews from the Forest Service, Lakeside Fire Dept. and Viejas Fire jumped on it and put it out before it spread. The fire was about the size of a football field, but it illustrated the dangers with the wind kicking up.

Prepare for days with increased wildfire danger by organizing a family communication plan which includes an evacuation plan for pets. Also, download apps like the NBC 7 free mobile app for breaking news alerts when fires spark as well as weather updates and warnings and the free SD Emergency app for updates on evacuations. 

“Always be aware. We were talking when we came down, when we passed by the fire station, it has fire danger extreme, and I just happened to say, we’re probably not gonna see that sign change for the rest of the year into the new year, and to be careful,” said Lisa Pender of Campo.

Also, make sure your mobile phone is registered with AlertSanDiego in advance of any wildfires. Landline phones - listed and unlisted - are already in the database. The system will notify users when there is an event in their area. 

With fires becoming larger and more frequent across the state, scientists say climate change, the heat, and dead plants are the cause. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala is in Rancho San Diego with more.
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