Red Flag Warning Returns With Cold Santa Ana Winds

A structure was fully involved in flames as the Thomas Fire burned in the Santa Paula area on Dec. 4 2017

A structure was fully involved in flames as the Thomas Fire burned in the Santa Paula area on Dec. 4 2017

Gusty Santa Ana winds and low humidity in the forecast this week prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning for San Diego County today, signifying a high risk of wildfire.

SDFD will increase staff through Thursday by adding two strike teams of 10 brush rigs, one strike team of five fire engines, two water tenders and two helicopters, spokeswoman Monica Munoz said. Fire weather officials caution that any fires that spark will have the ability to grow very rapidly and exhibit other kinds of extreme fire behavior, such as fire whirls or "tornadoes" and erratic spreading.

A warning from the National Weather Service also warnedSanta Clarita Valley residents about decorations for what many consider the most wonderful time of the year.

The heaviest winds were expected in the Montecito foothills.

The relative humidity will drop to 10 percent across most of the county on Monday, and will remain low for most of the week.

"This will likely be the strongest and longest duration santa ana wind event we have seen so far this season", the weather service said.

"During the peak of the Santa Anas on Monday, there is the potential for damaging wind gusts of between 50-70 miles per hour across wind-prone areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with isolated gusts of 80 mph possible in the mountains", the NWS Red Flag Advisory intoned.

Winds will die down somewhat for Wednesday and Thursday, but intermittent strong gusts will still be possible. Marginal danger is predicted for today and Wednesday and moderate danger for Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

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