Wednesday, January 18 , 2017, 7:31 am | Mostly Cloudy 43º


Local News

Red Flag Warning Issued for Parts of Santa Barbara County

Expected warm conditions, low humidity and gusty winds have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning for increased fire danger on Friday for the mountains and some inland portions of Santa Barbara County.

The warning, issued Thursday afternoon, extends from 4 a.m. until 8 p.m. Friday.

"We're looking at relative humidity going into the single digits," said John Dumas, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

That, coupled with wind gusts of about 40 mph, is "definitely enough to trigger [the warning]," he said.

Southeast winds of 15 to 30 mph, with higher gusts, are expected through Friday. 

The strongest winds are predicted for Friday morning, and relative humidity is expected to be in the 8 to 15 percent range, with vegetation throughout the region especially dry due to the lack of rain.

Dumas said that the humidity along the coastline has been higher — a good sign for the fire wary — and that "we've been seeing a marine layer along the west and south coasts."

Dumas said the drought conditions have helped created fire conditions across the state, and that the NWS has also issued red flag warnings in San Diego and Monterey.

Firefighters in Santa Barbara County also reported critically dry fuel levels of brush on the ground after testing it for water content Thursday.

Because of the warning, people should report any sign of smoke immediately to a local fire department by calling 9-1-1, and use extreme caution when operating spark- or flame-producing machinery in grass or brush areas, according to Capt. David Sadecki of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

People should also have an evacuation plan in place and two exit routes from their neighborhood, Sadecki said, and if asked to evacuate by fire or law enforcement, do so immediately.

Any suspicious person or vehicle should be reported to law enforcement, he said.

On Thursday afternoon, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District issued an air quality watch for the county through the weekend.

Because of the dry conditions and wind, higher levels of particulates have been recorded locally, particularly in the Lompoc area, officials said.

Schools and after-school programs are urged to keep students indoors and limit outdoor activities when dust and particle levels are high.

People with heart or lung disease or asthma should use caution with high dust levels in the air, along with older people and children, and should contact their health-care provider if they experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, the department said.

— Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk encourages free expression, regardless of viewpoint, but requires that such expressions be civil in tone, respectful of other commenters and relevant to the stories on which they are posted. We reserve the right to remove any comment for any reason.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree not to submit a comment that is abusive, defamatory, disrespectful, illegal, libelous, profane, vulgar or disparaging (whether on the basis of disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, traits with which people are born, or otherwise).

» Agree not to submit a comment that attacks or threatens another person, threatens or promotes violence, wishes for harm to befall another person, invades another person's privacy or proprietary rights, or uses expletives (including veiled profanity).

» Agree not to stalk or harass another person, dominate the conversation, discourage participation by others, or bait, belittle, bicker with, mock or taunt others.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

» Comments with spam or self-promotional links are not allowed. Comments that include links are automatically routed to a Pending queue. Regularly checking it is not a priority of ours.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >