A spell of windy, dry conditions settled over the San Diego area Friday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a "red flag" wildfire warning, effective through 6 p.m. Saturday.
The 30-hour alert -- warning of critical fire dangers in such East County locales as Alpine, Campo, Descanso, El Cajon, Escondido, Fallbrook, Julian, Potrero, Ramona, Ranchita, Santa Ysabel, Valley Center and Warner Springs -- went into effect at noon.
Inland humidity levels will likely dip to levels below 10 percent over the period, while winds out of the east will gust up to 35 mph, according to meteorologists.
This fall "is shaping up to be one of the most challenging fire seasons in many years," Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler said. "High winds can turn a spark into a devastating wildfire in just minutes, so we're calling on San Diegans to be extremely vigilant in the high-fire-risk areas of the county."
The state agency advised the public to help prevent fires by:
-- avoiding the use of mowers or mechanized weed trimmers in dry grass on windy days;
-- making campfires only in areas where they are expressly allowed, and extinguishing them completely when leaving;
-- avoiding pulling over or parking vehicles in dry grass;
-- never burning leaves, branches or other landscape debris on "no-burn days," or when it's windy; and
-- making sure all portable gas-powered machines have spark arresters.
-City News Service