Hot and windy weather conditions favorable to fast-moving wildfires will descend on the South Coast and mountains of Santa Barbara County starting Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a Red Flag Warning. The forecast calls for warnings in zones CAZ239 and CAZ252 (see map, above), between 3 p.m. tomorrow and 10 a.m. Thursday.
“A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire-weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly,” according to a statement from Santa Barbara County Fire Department. “A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can create extreme fire behavior.”
With relative humidity between 10 and 20 percent, warm overnight conditions are predicted as daytime highs peak between 95 and 105 degrees. Winds out of the north and northwest are expected to run steady between 20 and 40 mph, with gusts to 55, particularly down the canyons and passes from San Marcos Pass westward.