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Public Safety

Santa Ana Winds Raising Fire Danger In San Diego County

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Gusty Santa Ana winds in San Diego County's mountains and inland valleys, combined with low humidity, will raise the risk for wildfires over a roughly 24-hour span starting Sunday evening.

Red flag and high-wind warnings will take effect for the mountains and valleys at 8 p.m. Sunday. The wind warning is set to end at noon Monday, and the red flag warning at 8 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

For more information about red flag warnings, Cal Fire has information online.

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Sustained northeast winds of up to 30 mph are expected throughout the watch periods along with gusts that could reach 65 mph, according to the weather service. Daytime relative humidities as low as 5 percent will add to the wildfire risk.

Forecasters said the northeast winds would develop as a surface high pressure system builds into the Great Basin behind a significant cold front. Very dry conditions will also develop, with humidity values expected to remain in the single digits both days.

"A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will contribute to extreme fire behavior," according to the warning.

The winds are expected to weaken Monday afternoon but could remain close to advisory thresholds into Tuesday, forecasters said. Low humidities are also expected to persist into Tuesday.

In addition to increasing the risk for wildfires, the gusty wind could also lead to hazardous driving conditions, especially for motorists driving high profile vehicles. Forecasters advised drivers to be on the lookout for blowing dust and downed tree limbs.