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As Winds Flare Up Across San Diego County, Fire Officials Heed Lessons From Bernardo Fire

The Bernardo Fire spread quickly in northern parts of the city of San Diego on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.
10 News
The Bernardo Fire spread quickly in northern parts of the city of San Diego on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.
Bernardo Fire After Action Report
The San Diego Fire Department debriefs its response to the Bernardo Fire in May 2014.
To view PDF files, download Acrobat Reader.

Strong Santa Ana winds will increase the risk of wildfire in San Diego County Monday, meteorologists said.

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Fire officials also got a warning - in the form of a report with 90 recommendations based on their performance during May's Bernardo Fire. The report is by the City of San Diego and it recommends improvements ranging from making sure there are enough medical supplies and personal hygiene kits for a long fight to getting a third chopper.

San Diego Fire Chief Javier Mainer said the recommendations are build on top of some of those put forward after the Cedar Fire in 2003 and the Witch Creek Fire in 2007.

“The 90 recommendations we came up with kind of take us back to some things we thought we fixed in ‘07 and ‘03 - things we haven't been able to ingrain in the culture yet,” Mainer said.

Cal Fire spokesman Kendal Bortiesser said many see Monday's red flag warning as a late season Santa Ana, warned a year-around fire season is the new normal.

“We can't get out of fire season. We rolled fire season 2013 right into 2014, and if things continue the way they are, we’re going to roll right into 2015,” Bortiesser said.

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The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning and a high wind warning for the valley and mountain areas.

A red flag warning denotes a combination of weather conditions that could contribute to extreme fire behavior, including strong winds and very low humidity. A high wind warning is issued whenever there are winds strong enough to cause property damage.

The Weather Service scheduled the red flag warning for valley and mountain areas from 4 a.m. Monday to 6 p.m. Wednesday, saying humidity levels will fall into the single digits each day, with poor overnight recovery expected through Thanksgiving. The high wind warning was scheduled from 4 p.m. Monday to noon Wednesday.

Sustained winds Monday were expected to be out of the northeast and blow at 25 to 35 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 60 mph. Motorists were warned to watch for broken tree limbs and other debris on the roadways.

Corrected: June 30, 2022 at 5:53 PM PDT
City News Service contributed to this report.