San Diego fire weather is so extreme, purple is the new red

California’s fire weather in San Diego County and across Southern California is suddenly so extreme that — for the first time ever — a new color code has been assigned to the map showing areas affected by strong Santa Ana winds: purple.

According to the National Weather Service, the color code purple means that the affected area is under conditions so extreme that any fire could have “extreme growth,” “burn intensely” and “be uncontrollable.”

"The forecast for [Thursday] is purple. We've never used purple before," Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, told KCBS-TV.

A wildfire broke out in north San Diego County Thursday and by mid-afternoon flames had burned five structures and more than 500 acres, and threatened 1,000 homes near Bonsall. Some 9,300 SDG&E customers had lost power due to strong winds, up to 88 mph in some inland areas.

Residents and fire officials were still bracing for more fire.

Here’s are the latest fire stories from The San Diego Union-Tribune:

The fire dubbed Lilac Fire in San Diego County comes as residents in other parts of Southern California were surprised with destructive wildfires this week. Thousands of residents in Ventura County were displaced as flames swept through populated areas, including the city of Ventura, on Tuesday.

Images of mansions and homes in flames shared on social media prompted fears of a similar level of destruction in San Diego County where extreme weather conditions came in the color purple.

Updates:

Follow these Twitter accounts for #LilacFire updates in San Diego County: @ReadySanDiego @SanDiegoCounty @CAL_FIRE @CALFIRESANDIEGO @SDFD @NorthCountyFire @NWSSanDiego

The latest from @sdut here: sdut.us/2j33eGE

Tips on how to prepare: sdut.us/2BOUrN3

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