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Strong Santa Ana Winds Prompt Red Flag Fire Warning For San Diego County

The San Diego skyline pictured in this undated photo.

Credit: Milan Kovacevic

Above: The San Diego skyline pictured in this undated photo.

Strong and gusty Santa Ana winds, low humidity levels and high temperatures prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag fire warning Thursday denoting a strong risk of wildfire for the San Diego County mountains and valleys.

A red flag warning will go into effect at 10 a.m. Thursday in the San Diego County mountains and valleys and last until 10 p.m. Friday. The NWS also issued a high wind warning for the county mountains and valleys that went into effect at midnight and lasts until 6 p.m. Friday.

Along with low humidity levels, the strong Santa Ana winds blowing northeast are to blame for the fire danger, with winds of 15 to 25 mph in the forecast and gusts near 35 mph possible this morning in the county mountains before the winds strengthen and spread into the county valleys later in the day, according to the NWS.

Humidity was expected to drop to 5-10 percent Thursday.

Fuels are very dry and fires will grow rapidly and be difficult to control upon ignition, according to the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index.

High temperatures today will be 75 to 80 degrees in the western valleys and 65 to 71 in the mountains, NWS forecasters said.

With the heightened fire danger, authorities recommended that residents avoid outdoor burning and have emergency preparedness kits in order.

"An emergency can happen at any time," a forecaster said in a statement on the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index Website. "Clean debris away from your house. Charge your cell phone and make sure you have plenty of gas."

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