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Fire Officials Prepare For Mild Santa Ana Winds, Heat Wave

Photo by Susan Murphy

Firefighters meet up after completing a brush clearing training in San Diego's East County on May 22, 2013.

Fire officials are warning of an elevated fire risk in San Diego County starting Thursday and continuing through Sunday. Residents are urged to be extra cautious.

Fire officials are warning of an elevated fire risk from Thursday through Sunday in San Diego County as triple-digit temperatures, single-digit humidity and mild Santa Ana winds roll into the region.

Cal Fire is increasing air and ground resources, including one additional air tanker from Northern California, for a total of three, as well as five more water tenders and 26 fully staffed engines.

"We’ve certainly learned as a result of the 2003 and 2007 fires, and the most recent ones, that we need to be proactive," said Cal Fire Captain Kendal Bortisser.

Photo credit: National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC)

This map shows areas across the U.S. that are most at risk for wildfire during the month of October 2014. San Diego, shown in red, is in the highest risk area.

He said nearly the whole county is at risk for wildfire.

"We used to focus on the rural areas of the backcountry as having the majority of the wildfires," Bortisser said. "However, we’ve seen since then that fires occur at the coast, they occur in residential neighborhoods, they can occur anywhere in San Diego County. So we’re asking folks throughout the county to be on heightened alert."

Mild Santa Ana winds are expected to gust to 10-12 mph at the coast and as high as 40-50 mph in the foothills.

Fire officials have warned for months that San Diego faces serious fire danger this year as gripping drought conditions, that started more than 1,000 days ago, have parched canyons and hillsides to a crisp.

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