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Hot Weather Contributes To Increased Wildfire Risk In Mountains, Deserts

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High temperatures are expected to peak Monday as the heat wave in San Diego County persists amid concerns that high heat, low humidity and the wind heightens the risk of wildfires in some areas.

A National Weather Service heat advisory for areas other than the immediate coast is set to expire at 6 p.m. A red flag warning is in effect through Wednesday evening, which was upgraded from a fire weather watch Monday afternoon.

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Cal Fire Captain Kendal Bortisser says the extreme conditions can lead to unpredictable fire intensity and fast-moving flames. He said his team is at full staff and on high alert.

"You’re not immune to wildfires anywhere in this county. If it starts, it has the potential of being a very damaging wildfire no matter where you live," Kendal Bortisser said. "So the important thing to remember is to be aware of that and know that you need to have all of the plans in place, have good evacuation planning, your evacuation kit."

So far this year 4,000 fires have burned across the state, leaving eight people dead and more than 300 homes destroyed.

High temperatures Monday will be be 80 to 85 degrees along the coast, 84 to 89 degrees inland, 92 to 97 degrees in the western valleys, 97 to 102 degrees near the foothills, 93 to 99 degrees in the mountains and 109 to 114 degrees in the deserts, according to National Weather Service.

Forecasters said winds in the mountains and deserts would ramp up to 15 to 25 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 35 mph by late Monday. Southwest-to-west winds of 25 to 30 mph are expected, along with gusts to 45 mph Tuesday into Wednesday.

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"The increasing wind, coupled with a very large drop in relative humidity, may create periods of critical wildfire conditions through late Wednesday," the weather service said.

Forecasters said a daily high temperature record could be broken Monday in Chula Vista, and Alpine and Ramona may come close to tying their previous records.

"A strong high pressure ridge will result in more hot weather for inland locations. A sea breeze will keep coastal areas cooler," the weather service said. "Gradual cooling is expected for the remainder of the week, although temperatures will still be above normal in some areas through Wednesday."

Forecasters said hot weather combined with low humidity and gusty winds would likely cause any fires that develop to spread rapidly. Outdoor burning was discouraged.

Residents were advised to guard against potentially serious heat-related ailments, stay hydrated, avoid unnecessary outdoor labor and check on neighbors and relatives, especially the elderly. Authorities also warned against leaving people or pets in parked cars, which can quickly become death traps in high heat.