County advises how to reduce risk during a red flag warning

SAN DIEGO – December’s arrival did not mean an end to high fire risk. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning today through Thursday due to strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity throughout San Diego County.

Fire officials warn residents not to attempt to use power tools to clear away brush during a red flag warning because it could spark a fire, but there are other ways to protect your property and family from fire danger.

Forecasters predicted strong wind gusts of up to 50 mph through this morning, then a slight decrease in winds this afternoon until Wednesday evening. The winds are predicted to be between 20-30 mph on Wednesday night and Thursday with gusts between 35-55 mph from the valleys to the mountains and 60-80 mph on west mountain slopes, according to the National Weather Service.

Here are some things residents can do instead:

Remove debris, including dried leaves, firewood stacks, or trash from around the home. This includes leaves on their roof and in gutters.

Trim away any tree branches that overhang on your home and cut low branches on trees. Dried out bushes or plants should also be pruned or removed. All tree or shrub clippings need to be cleaned up and disposed of in a bin.

Residents should be alert and that means staying informed. Make sure you’re registered for AlertSanDiego, the County’s cell phone notification service. By doing that, you will receive any emergency messages that apply to your neighborhood on your cell phone.

On your smartphone, download the County’s SD Emergency app from the Google Play store or the Apple App Store. The app provides news updates, maps, shelter locations and includes disaster planning templates and interactive checklists. If a regional emergency, such as a wildfire, does occur, updates and other information will be posted at sdcountyemergency.com and sent out via the app.

Complete a family disaster plan template from the app or from ReadySanDiego.org to help your family plan for an emergency including where to meet if you are separated and cannot return home. The site has more information about safeguarding your home from wildfires and general disaster preparation.

More weather forecast information and updates are available at the National Weather Service.

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