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UPDATE: Santa Barbara's South Coast included in Red Flag Warning

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Santa Barbara County
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UPDATE: September 16, 2014 at 4:33 p.m.

The Red Flag Warning in effect for Santa Barbara County was expanded Tuesday to include the county's entire South Coast.

The National Weather Service has issued the warning through Midnight Tuesday. It indicates critical fire weather conditions have moved into the area.

Meteorologists say a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and excessive heat for a fifth straight day is to blame.

The strongest winds are forecast from the Gaviota Coast through Goleta with gusts up 40 mph. Temperatures Tuesday along the South Coast were in the 90 to 100 degree range and relative humidity was expected to hit as low as 15 to 20 percent.

A transition to cooler temperatures is expected to begin Wednesday, according to the weather service.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Extended hot weather has extended Santa Barbara County's Red Flag Warning into Tuesday.  This move comes after several days of hot temperatures and potentially severe weather conditions.

Captain David Sadeki of Santa Barbara county fire department says a storm off the coast of Baja California could create unsettled air masses, erratic winds, or even lightening. 

The County fire department has declared Live Fuel Moisture (LFM) levels at the critical point. LFM is determined by the water content in live vegetation.

The ratio of dry matter and water content has reached 60 percent or below in Santa Barbara County, a ratio deemed "critical" by County Fire.

Captain Sadeki says this relates to lack of rainfall. "Last year, we never really went out of our high fire season because we didn't really have any rain," Sadeki said.  "So it's almost like one continuous high fire season."

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