According to the National Weather Service, a high pressure system over the Great Basin will continue to generate gusty Santa Ana winds over Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
A red flag warning continues for Ventura and Los Angeles counties through Friday. Conditions for Santa Barbara County are predicted to be above normal temperatures, single-digit relative humidity, north east winds of 10 to 15 mph.
The main concern is the potential for fire alignment with the topography and low relative humidity. A moderate to high confidence on an elevated fire threat exists with increased winds, above normal temperatures, low relative humidity and critically low live fuel moisture levels throughout Santa Barbara County.
In response to the predicted elevated fire danger, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department will increase its staffing level from noon Thursday through 8 a.m. Friday.
The increased staffing level will include the following additional resources: three engines, one dozer, one battalion chief and one dispatch captain. These additional resources will be available to respond throughout the Santa Barbara County Operational Area and will be staged accordingly. This increased staffing pattern will be re-evaluated daily.
During this time of elevated fire danger, citizens should take appropriate precautions. These precautions include, but are not limited to the following:
» Report any sign of smoke immediately to your local fire department by calling 9-1-1 (if your call 9-1-1 from your cell phone, you must know your location).
» Use extreme caution when operating spark of flame producing machinery in hazardous grass or brush areas.
» Have an evacuation plan in place and identify two exit routes from your neighborhood. If you are asked to evacuate by fire or law enforcement officials, do so immediately.
» Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to law enforcement.
Shorter, cooler days provide less of a burning period should a fire start. Live fuel moisture levels remain at critical levels, however, they are slowly starting to rise. Even as live fuel moistures begin to rise, wind can overcome elevated fuel moistures and create rapid rates of fire spread.
— Capt. David Sadecki is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.