According to the National Weather Service, strong northwest to north winds and near critical humidity levels are expected today and into this evening. According to Santa Barbara County Fire PIO David Sadecki, the strongest winds are expected to occur in the mountains of the Santa Barbara County south coast today through this evening as high pressure builds across the district. Gusts to 60 mph or higher also may be possible in the canyons near Montecito late this afternoon and evening.
Just when the recent rain had local residents breathing a sigh of relief, fire danger levels are also expected to increase along with the winds and low humidity. Temperatures are also expected to be above normal through Saturday.
In response to the predicted elevated fire danger, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department has announced an increase in staffing level, including an additional three engines, one dozer, one water tender, one battalion chief and one dispatch captain.
Captain Sadecki requested the local community to be especially vigilant and to take appropriate precautions. Citizens should report any sign of smoke immediately to your local fire department by calling 911 (if your call 911 from your cell phone, you must know your location). He also urged using extreme caution when operating spark of flame producing machinery in hazardous grass or brush areas and to report any suspicious persons or vehicles to law enforcement.