The sunny, windy weekend forecast for Santa Barbara County is making local firefighters nervous.
Vegetation is so dry that humidity levels could hit single-digit percentages, according weather specialist Scott Sukup of the National Weather Service Oxnard office.
“There’s no rain in the forecast for the next seven days at least, so it’s not going to get better anytime soon,” he said.
The combination of winds, dry vegetation and higher-than-normal temperatures creates an elevated fire danger.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department stations are adding personnel from Friday night through Monday morning to respond to the threat, Capt. David Sadecki said.
There will be three extra engines, one bulldozer, one battalion chief and one dispatch captain added to normal staffing.
It won’t be as windy as Dec. 9-10, but temperatures will be higher, and vegetation is even drier than it was earlier this week.
Gusts may hit 20 to 30 mph in the mountains Friday night and Saturday morning, Sukup said.
Low humidity and higher temperatures will last through Tuesday, but winds should subside Sunday, Sadecki said.
Sunny weather this weekend will reach highs of 71, which warms up to 73 for Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service forecast. It will cool down at the end of the week to the mid-60s, but nighttime temperatures won’t drop below 50 degrees.
Red flag warnings and wind advisories have been issued for Ventura and Los Angeles counties, but none issued for Santa Barbara.
The county Fire Department is asking everyone to report any sign of smoke immediately, have an evacuation plan in place and use extreme caution when operating any spark- or flame-producing machinery in grass or brush areas.
It also is asking people to report any suspicious vehicles or people to law enforcement.