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Santa Barbara Weather: 64.4°F | Humidity: 97% | Pressure: 29.86in (Steady) | Conditions: Overcast | Wind Direction: SE | Wind Speed: 0.7mph [see map]

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High Wind Warning/Increased Staffing
updated: Feb 19, 2014, 10:31 AM

Source: Santa Barbara County Fire Department

According to the National Weather Service, strong northwest to north winds and near critical humidity levels are expected today and into this evening. A dry cold front is expected to push across the region today.

North winds should increase today along the western Santa Ynez range toward Gaviota. As the front pushes southward, expect northwest to north winds to increase across all areas by this afternoon. 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 will be possible below canyons of the Santa Ynez range near Montecito mainly late this afternoon and evening.

A moderate to high confidence on an elevated fire threat exists with low relative humidities, increased winds, and above normal temperatures for this weekend. Weather is predicted to be very dry and warm Thursday through Saturday.

Increased Staffing Duration: From 8am today to 8am Thursday February 20th

In response to the predicted elevated fire danger, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department will increase its staffing level. The increased staffing level will include the following additional resources: three engines, one dozer, one water tender, one battalion chief and one dispatch captain. These additional resources will be available to respond throughout the Santa Barbara County Operational Area. This increased staffing pattern will be reevaluated daily.

During this time of elevated fire danger, citizens should take appropriate precautions. These precautions include, but are not limited to the following:

  • 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).
  • Use extreme caution when operating spark of flame producing machinery in hazardous grass or brush areas.
  • Have an evacuation plan in place and identify two exit routes from your neighborhood. If you are asked to evacuate by fire or law enforcement officials, do so immediately.
  • Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to law enforcement.

    Shorter, cooler days provide less of a burning period should a fire start. Live fuel moisture levels remain at critical levels however are slowly starting to rise. Even as live fuel moistures begin to rise, wind can overcome elevated fuel moistures and create rapid rates of fire spread.

     

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