[UPDATE] The Fire Weather Watch was upgraded to a Red Flag Warning for Santa Barbara County’s South Coast and mountain areas, announced County Fire Capt. David Zaniboni. The Red Flag runs from 3 p.m. on Friday, July 22, through to midnight, Saturday, July 23, due to forecast high winds and gusts, and low relative humidity of 5-15 percent. Hot temperatures and dry fuels “will likely bring critical fire weather conditions,” the National Weather Service advised.
Increasing heat and expected windy weather are combining for a Fire Weather Watch and High Wind Advisory to be issued by the National Weather Service. Gusty winds of 20-30 mph, peaking at 45-60 mph, are expected Thursday and Friday evenings through the Santa Ynez Range and across southern Santa Barbara County. The I-5 corridor is also expected to be affected with corresponding peril to high-profile vehicles.
Friday afternoon through Saturday morning will bring the gustiest winds and temperatures about 10 degrees above normal, plus humidity as low as 7-20 percent late in the day, which indicate the potential for critical fire weather conditions. The current advisory is a “watch,” which advises fire and government officials and the public to the likelihood of coming red flag conditions, which are the highest fire alert status.
In valley and lower mountain areas on Friday and Saturday, conditions are expected to push the criteria for an excessive heat warning. Temps of 100-110°F are expected in Ventura and Los Angeles areas, with little relief overnight. Santa Ynez Valley is looking at 102°F and overnight temps in the mid-50s.