Federal firefighters will be operating on extended shifts in preparation for the Santa Ana wind event that prompted the National Weather Service Tuesday to issue a Fire Weather Watch for the Inland Empire and other locations.
“We will be implementing a 24-hour staffing pattern Thanksgiving Day and ending on Sunday,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Zach Behrens said. “This is for engines, patrols, water tenders and hotshot crews.”
The USFS helicopter base in Idyllwild, serving the San Bernardino National Forest, will be among operations in alert standby mode.
“The shorter days and colder temperatures can make it feel like we are out of peak fire season, but that is not the case,” San Bernardino National Forest Deputy Fire Chief Scott Howes said. “Visitors need to be as cautious as ever with anything that could spark a fire.”
The NWS’ Fire Weather Watch is in effect from 2 p.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Friday, encompassing all of the Inland Empire. A separate, longer watch will continue through the weekend in San Diego County.
“Winds will be from the northeast, 20 to 30 mph, with gusts from 50 to 60 mph,” according to the Weather Service. “Isolated gusts to 65 mph (are possible).”
The strongest winds will likely be concentrated in narrow passes, including the San Gorgonio Pass, around Banning, Beaumont and Cabazon, meteorologists said.
Humidity is expected to plunge to 10%, creating tinderbox dry conditions into early next week.
NWS forecaster Bruno Rodriguez told City News Service on Monday that winds will weaken in the IE by Friday night, with lighter Santa Ana activity in the region through Sunday.
High temperatures in the Riverside metropolitan area Thursday will be in the mid 60s, while on Friday, the mercury will reach about 72 degrees, with 74 degrees or higher possible on Saturday, according to Rodriguez. Lows will generally dip into the lower 40s from Thursday to Sunday.
Temperatures will be roughly the same in Palm Springs, and in the Temecula Valley, according to forecasters.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: