A sign in North County warns of power shutoffs on Monday night. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Santa Ana winds and low humidity levels will keep the risk of wildfire high across the San Diego area into Tuesday, as they did for much of last week.

To alert the public to the combustion hazards posed by the gusty and arid conditions, the National Weather Service issued a red flag wildfire warning for local mountain and western-valleys communities, effective through 10 p.m. Tuesday. A high-wind warning also will be in effect through noon Tuesday in those same areas.

Outdoor burning, mechanized brush clearing and other potentially spark-creating activities should be avoided over the period, as any fires that develop will spread rapidly, according to the weather service.

As of 8:30 p.m. Monday, San Diego Gas & Electric had instituted public safety power shutoffs in parts of Alpine, Campo, Campo Reservation, Descanso, Escondido, Jamul, Julian, La Jolla Reservation, La Posta Reservation, Mesa Grande Reservation, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Reservation, Pauma Valley, Ramona, Rincon Reservation, San Pasqual Reservation, Santa Ysabel, Santa Ysabel Reservation, Valley Center and Viejas Reservation in a bid to avoid any blazes ignited by transmission equipment.

A total of 11,946 customers were affected, and the utility advised tens of thousands more across the East County and North County that their power might also be shut off as a precaution.

Due to the potential for power outages, schools in the Alpine Union and Warner Unified school districts will be closed on Tuesday, according to the San Diego County Office of Education.

Mountain Empire Unified School District campuses will offer “asynchronous learning,” in which students may work independently by reading, watching pre-recorded lessons or doing assignments, projects or online activities, where power is available.

Conditions are expected to warm up Tuesday and Wednesday, after which temperatures will drop slightly on Thursday and Friday, forecasters said.

Updated at 9:00 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, 2020.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.