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Public urged to use caution to avoid infernos like those scorching Los Angeles and Ventura

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Thirdiphoto: Skirball Fire created hellacious conditions that shut down the 405 freeway today near the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

December 6, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – High winds fueling devastating fires in Los Angeles are set to hit San Diego County tomorrow, with gusts of 70 mph or more in some areas. Currently no fires are burning in San Diego County, though smoke from a fire in Mexico is visible near the border.  But the situation could turn perilous quickly if new fires start.  National Weather Forecaster Alex Tardy says Santa Ana winds could blow a fire in the inland area all the way to the coast.

SDG&E has sent warnings to 170,000 customers indicating power may be shut off tomorrow to prevent transmission line fires.  For tips on how to prepare for a power outage during critical fire danger click here.

A red flag warning has been extended to Saturday night, with a high wind warning in effect through 4 p.m. Friday.  Extreme winds are forecast for Julian, Mt. Laguna, Cleveland National Forest, and parts of Imperial County, with high winds expected in Boulevard, Banner, Borrego and Ocotillo.

SDG&E has pre-positioned a generator in Julian, where the Julian High School will be closed tomorrow due to high winds.

In Los Angeles, flames have destroyed mansions in the exclusive Bel Air neighborhood and parts of Hollywood have been evacuated. The estate of  Fox News media mogul Rupert Murdoch is currently threatened.

The Thomas Fire in Ventura has scored over 65,000 acres and is still 0 percent contained; one person has died in the blaze.  Also in L.A. County, the Creek Fire has scored over 11,000 acres and burned 30-50 homes.  The Rye Fire near Magic Mountain has burned 7,000 acres.

The Skirball Fire that started today caused closure of the 405 freeway in both directions, creating hellacious conditions as it burned near the Getty Museum. It has charred 475 acres and is 5% contained; 405 has reopened.  In the San Fernando Valley, the Sylmar Fire has forced 10,000 to evacuate. 

Locally Cal Fire has beefed up staffing, adding fire engines, bulldozers, fire crews and aircraft, prepositioning some resources. 

“Even though it’s December, the conditions are much drier than they normally would be this time of year,” Chief David Nissa, Cal Fire San Diego Deputy Chief warns, recalling devastating from Santa Ana winds in 2003, 2007 and 2014. 

All residents are urged to avoid any activities that could spark fires including not mowing or trimming dry grass with power equipment on windy days and not pulling a vehicle over onto dry grass.

Find more safety tips at where you can review the “Ready, Set, Go” procedures and register your phone to get county wildfire alerts if a fire breaks out in your area.

Sign up to receive free East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts via email at the top right side of our homepage and you may also receive our free weekly e-newsletter.  You can also follow EastCountyAlert on Twitter for brief alerts on your mobile phone. We recommend all of the above, since you don't know what form of communication will work best in a regional emergency. 

We thank our generous sponsors,  Grossmont Healthcare District and SDG&E, for their support of our East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts, helping us keep you safe and informed.

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