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San Diego Under Red Flag Warning For Fire Danger

Aired 1/15/14 on KPBS News.

San Diego County's unseasonably warm weather and lack of rain has resulted in a red flag warning for fire danger.

Dry conditions and gusty Santa Ana winds have San Diego County’s inland valleys and mountain areas under a red flag warning – the National Weather Service’s most serious alert for extreme fire danger.

The warning is also in effect for many other areas in California, including cities as far north as Eureka in Northern California's Humboldt County.

Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser said the lack of rain has created dry conditions, which are very unusual for this time of year.

“We’re seeing many areas of the state right now that are recording their driest year on record,” Bortisser said. “Here in San Diego we get on average about 10 inches of rain, and last year we had about six-and-a-half inches, and the year before that, we received eight,” Bortisser said.

The National Weather Service predicts wind gusts up to 35 mph, making driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles like SUVs.

Bortisser said the public should also avoid doing anything to spark a fire, and make sure they are prepared for fires at home.

“We’re talking about things like defensible space — maintaining that 100-foot clearance around your home to help the firefighters in the event that a fire should occur," Bortisser said.

The red flag warning is in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday.

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