Southern California got the taste of Santa Ana winds this week, but there’s more where that comes from. The seasonal winds typically blow in from October to December, bringing with them an amplified wildfire risk.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) wants to encourage residents to be aware of the signs of fire danger during those months.
About Santa Ana Winds
The Santa Ana winds are a dry, low humidity type of wind that blows from desert out toward ocean, bringing in dry air and raising temperatures, especially on coast.
“It’s like having a blow dryer on our vegetation and fuel and brush, increasing the risk of wildfires,” said Alex Tardy, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego.
The predicted winds, coupled with very dry conditions, mean that any fires that start will have a high probability of rapid growth. Between now and the end of the year, the southern portion of the state could see up to six major wind events – with winds increasing in intensity further into the season.
“Winds are common this time of year, but they don’t really peak out until December,” Tardy said. “They will continue to be a concern until we get that widespread winter storm that wets things down.”
Tips to Stay Safe
There are several ways to prepare for wildfires – and all disasters – by planning ahead:
- Sign up for local alerts at CalAlerts.org.
- Make a plan and write down important phone numbers and websites of organizations that can help you in an emergency.
- Pack a go bag with things you need, like important documents, cash, maps and medication.
- Build an emergency kit for your vehicle.
- Build a stay box for when you can’t leave.