Red Flag Warning in effect in San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Red Flag Warning in effect in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - An increased risk of wildfire will threaten much of San Diego County this week as dry, hot and windy conditions develop in the inland valleys and local mountains, meteorologists said Monday.

"High pressure aloft will strengthen along the West Coast through Thursday, bringing much warmer daytime temperatures," according to the National Weather Service. "Surface high pressure over the Great Basin will bring periods of strong gusty east to northeast winds through Wednesday ... along with low humidities."

The agency said the most significant combination of hot daytime temperatures, very low humidity and strong gusty Santa Ana winds is expected on Tuesday and Wednesday, though Wednesday's winds will be weaker and will diminish faster.

Meantime, Cal Fire says one less spark is one less fire. It's Monday and Cal Fire is already extremely busy putting out brush fires. The latest was in Spring Valley in a remote area.

With intense heat on the way, conditions change quickly.

"We're in a red flag fire warning right now," Kendal Bortisser with Cal Fire said.

Cal Fire contained a quarter acre brush fire in Spring Valley near Bonita by a homeless encampment just before 3:30 a.m. Monday.

"If this was a different time and day and with winds coming in. It would have been a different story," Bortisser said.

A different story with winds picking up later Monday, combined with volatile brush and dry hot weather. Making it difficult even for the most skilled pilot during aerial assaults on flames.

"They're making a strong aggressive attack from the ground and air both," Bortisser said.

Cal Fire is at full staff and on the ready. They say this morning's fire is a small example of what could happen again several times this week.

Saturday, a homeless man was arrested after starting a fire in Chula Vista.

"I started the fire. I didn't do it on purpose. I was cooking dinner," the man said.

It's incidents like these that Cal Fire warns you to avoid. They are hitting TV and social media with messages to put out cigarette butts and embers from barbecues. A startling statistic - more than 90 percent of brush fires are caused by human error.

"We're in fire season and they need to be extra cautious and extra safe," Bortisser said.

A red flag warning for inland valley and mountain areas is in effect until 8 p.m. Tuesday. According to the weather service, during that time there will be sustained northeast to east winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour and gusts to 45 mph, mainly along coastal slopes and below passes and canyons. The humidity is expected to be around 5 percent.

A red flag warning is the NWS most serious fire-related warning.

"It will continue to be hot and very dry Thursday, but with weakening winds," the NWS said.

Highs around the region Monday are expected to be mainly in the high 80s to low 90s. By Wednesday, triple-digit temperatures are likely.

A cooling trend is expected by the weekend.

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