Firefighters on alert as crews battles blazes throughout the state

Friday, May 3—

As firefighters battle six significant fires across the state, Ramona and San Diego County remain on high alert.

A red flag warning signifying wildfire conditions remained in effect today in the inland valleys and mountains amid hot, dry conditions and gusty winds.

During the warning period, set to expire at 6 p.m., gusty east-to-northeast winds of 20 miles per hour with gusts as strong as 45 mph are expected as the humidity level plummets to about 5 percent, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures in the valleys are forecast to range from 90 to 98 degrees, in the 70s and 80s in mountain areas with altitudes of between 3,000 and 6,000 feet and in the upper 60s in higher areas.

“A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential,’’ according to an NWS advisory.

A wind advisory set to expire at 2 p.m. was also in effect in the valleys and mountains. Forecasters warned that the winds could make for difficult driving conditions on Interstate 8, especially for motorists driving high profile vehicles.

Cooler weather and higher humidity levels are expected this weekend, forecasters said. Winds are expected to weaken tonight.

The possibility of rain and thunderstorms will follow from Sunday night into Monday, according to the weather service.

A mowing machine sparked a hillside grass fire that blackened about three open acres in Alpine yesterday, authorities said. The blaze occurred about 1 p.m., according to Cal Fire.

Ground crews got the flames under control within about 20 minutes, despite prevailing gusty winds and dry atmospheric conditions, said Daryll Pina, a battalion chief with the state agency.

The fire briefly threatened a home on top of the slope but caused no structural damage or injuries and necessitated no evacuations, Pina said.

The person who inadvertently ignited the blaze may be cited, he said.

Fire activity across California remained high yesterday and overnight. One of those fires was a fast moving wildfire in Ventura County that forced the evacuations of hundreds, said Daniel Berlant with Cal Fire.

The Springs Fire near Camarillo continues to burn and is threatening several thousand homes.

Over 3,000 firefighters are on the frontlines of the six major wildfires burning in California.

A red flag warning remains in effect for Southern California as well as Tulare and Kern counties. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning in Northern California from Shasta County down to Lake and Yuba Counties.

Though much of the state is at a higher than normal fire threat, the areas under the red flag warning have an elevated fire danger. The combination of dry conditions coupled with gusty winds and low humidity create the perfect conditions for wildfires.

Cal Fire asks everyone to be extra safe outdoors to help prevent new wildfires. For some steps Californians should take during high fire danger days, see calfire.ca.gov/communications/communications_firesafety_redflagwarning.php.

Residents are also encouraged to visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org for tips on how to prepare themselves, their families and their homes for wildfires.

   
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