City officials warn of fire danger as weather warms up

City News Service

Mayor Jerry Sanders and fire Chief Javier Maina warned San Diegans to prepare for Santa Ana conditions over the next couple of days that could make the region ripe for wildfires.

They were joined at a news conference Tuesday by National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy, who said it will be very hot at the coast Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday morning, the forecast was calling for to climb into the 90s at the beaches and the 100s in inland areas.

Offshore flow and an unusually strong upper level high pressure centered over the coast will produce very warm temperatures’’ Wednesday and Thursday, according to a National Weather Service advisory.

The hottest day at the beaches will be today,’' it said early Wednesday, and inland areas, the valleys, the mountains and the deserts will experience their hottest temperatures Thursday.

Temperatures were expected to cool throughout the region Friday, but still be running 5 to 10 degrees above normal for this time of year.

Residents not used to this heat should be extra cautious with outdoor activities,’' according to a Weather Service advisory, adding that those without air conditioning should be checked on.

The more extreme winds that accompanied the firestorms of 2003 and 2007, which devastated large swaths of the county, are not expected, he said.

Nevertheless, the mayor urged San Diegans to take all necessary precautions, including cutting back brush within 100 feet of residences.

We have some potentially explosive conditions in San Diego County with lots of dead vegetation,’' Sanders said.It doesn’t take much effort and it might pay dividends that are impossible to measure in dollars and lives.’'

Mainar said a fire in the northeastern part of the county broke out nearly two weeks ago and rapidly grew to 2,000 acres without the presence of strong winds.

A lot of homes in the city line canyons and uninterrupted brush lands that haven’t burned in years, the chief said.

He said the San Diego Fire-Department has more equipment, including a pair of large tanker helicopters it can borrow from San Diego Gas & Electric, and better communications since the Cedar and Witch Creek fires occurred.