Millions of people in Southern California were sent an alert to their cell phones on Wednesday night warning them of strong winds and “extreme fire danger” in the region, including here in San Diego.
The exact message from the emergency alert was:
“Strong winds over night creating extreme fire danger. Stay alert. Listen to authorities. A number of people on Twitter shared a screenshot of the alert.
The message came from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Service’s (OES) at 8:24 p.m. on Wednesday night and was geographically-targeted to reach residents of San Diego, San Bernardo, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Orange, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. The OES picked those counties because they were under red flag warnings.
Just under an hour before the alert, California OES also sent out this tweet with a map warning people in Southern California that strong winds and “extreme fire danger” could be possible through Friday.
The state’s office of emergency services cited these concerns in a press release explaining its decision to send out the alert.
The National Weather Service was forecasting an “extreme Santa Ana Wind event” beginning Wednesday, with 18 to 24 hours of strong winds gusting 50-80 mph. Pair that with “very dry conditions” that could cause any fire that stars to have “a high probability of rapid growth” and the OES felt that was enough to alert residents of Southern California.
“The state’s emergency operations center is fully activated and we are coordinating with all state agencies to continue our response to current fires and pre-position resources in case new fires emerge in the coming days,” said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
In addition to heeding the alert, the OES recommends residents monitor local media and be ready to evacuate if needed. It also says preparation tips can be found at www.ReadyForWildfire.org.
San Diegans face similar conditions to the ones which have seen dangerous and fast-spreading fires pop up in Los Angeles and Ventura County. But that doesn’t mean all of them were happy to receive the alert.
The reaction on Twitter from people around San Diego ranged from concern to fear to frustration.
And if you want to receive locally sent alerts, consider signing up for AlertSanDiego if you aren’t already registered. It’s the County of San Diego’s regional notification system. Sign up here.