Emergency crews, residents alerted to red flag warning

   Hot, dry heat and winds occasionally gusting to 35 mph have area residents on fire alert this week.

National Weather Service San Diego issued a red flag warning from Tuesday morning at 9 until 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24.

   A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are expected. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and hot weather create explosive fire growth potential, officials said.

The high temperature on Monday was 92 degree at Ramona Airport, with the thermometer expected to rise to about 105 in Ramona on Tuesday (when the

Sentinel

goes to press), 98 on Wednesday, 99 on Thursday and 97 on Friday. Weekend temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-90s.

   Also forecast were northeast winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts reaching 35 mph, mainly through and below passes and canyons. Humidity was expected to stay below 10 percent through Thursday.

Fire agencies are aggressively responding to all fires, with forest service, state and local firefighters battling recent brush fires.

   An illegal burn triggered a 14-acre brush fire off Highway 94 and Millar Ranch Road in Rancho San Diego at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. Later in the day a vehicle started a fire that spread to 340 acres off Highway 79 and Vail Lake Road east of Temecula in Riverside County. Smoke from that fire, which officials report destroyed 12 structures and at least two homes, was seen in Ramona.

   A propane fire broke out off Lake Morena Drive in Campo and threatened a nearby home before firefighters arrived, said CalFire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler. Last week, CalFire reported small fires on Palomar Mountain and near Guatay.

   On Monday, Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were at the site of a helicopter crash that occurred in a remote part of Guejito Ranch on Sunday. The man and woman aboard the Robinson R-44 suffered serious injuries and were airlifted to area trauma centers, the sheriff’s department reported. The ranch, adjacent to Cleveland National Forest, is between Valley Center and Ramona.

   Fire agencies have been at peak staffing since June, said Schuler on Monday, when he reported that CalFire has brought equipment from throughout the state into Southern California and was moving additional resources into this area. Among those resources are CalFire hand crews and dozers in strike team configuration, all Calfire brush engines and staffing on additional water tenders.

   Fire agencies continue to ask homeowners to have defensible space around their homes. Area residents should also know what important papers and other items they would want to take from their homes if they need to evacuate.

   
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