DISASTERS

Mapping system to provide early warning of California fire risk during high wind events

  • FILE - In this May 14, 2014 file photo, a helicopter drops fire fighting material over a house as smoke envelopes the area in Carlsbad, Calif. Fire-hardened Southern Californians know that when the Santa Ana winds blow, a wildfire probably isn’t very far behind, the only questions are where and how bad it will be. A new mapping tool developed by the U.S. Forest Service will help homeowners and emergency responders get a better handle on both those questions with detailed color-coded early warning system that will indicate which areas have the highest risk of a devastating blaze during the hot, dry wind events.  (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this May 14, 2014 file photo, a helicopter drops fire fighting material over a house as smoke envelopes the area in Carlsbad, Calif. Fire-hardened Southern Californians know that when the Santa Ana winds blow, a wildfire probably isn’t very far behind, the only questions are where and how bad it will be. A new mapping tool developed by the U.S. Forest Service will help homeowners and emergency responders get a better handle on both those questions with detailed color-coded early warning system that will indicate which areas have the highest risk of a devastating blaze during the hot, dry wind events. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this May 15, 2014 file photo, a woman douses around her home with water from a hose as her neighbor's home burns during a wildfire in Escondido, Calif. Fire-hardened Southern Californians know that when the Santa Ana winds blow, a wildfire probably isn’t very far behind, the only questions are where and how bad it will be. The U.S. Forest Service on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, rolled out a mapping tool that should help homeowners and first responders get a better idea of just where those fires are most likely to erupt during a Santa Ana wind event. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

    FILE - In this May 15, 2014 file photo, a woman douses around her home with water from a hose as her neighbor's home burns during a wildfire in Escondido, Calif. Fire-hardened Southern Californians know that when the Santa Ana winds blow, a wildfire probably isn’t very far behind, the only questions are where and how bad it will be. The U.S. Forest Service on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, rolled out a mapping tool that should help homeowners and first responders get a better idea of just where those fires are most likely to erupt during a Santa Ana wind event. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)  (The Associated Press)

Fire-hardened Southern Californians know that when the Santa Ana winds blow, a wildfire probably isn't far behind.

The U.S. Forest Service on Wednesday rolled out a mapping tool that should help homeowners and first responders get a better idea of just where those fires are most likely to erupt during a Santa Ana wind event.

The Santa Ana Wind Index will use weather modeling and 30 years of data to rank fire danger in four zones during the hot, dry wind events.

The map will stretch from Santa Barbara to San Diego and include a six-day forecast.

A beta version of the project accurately predicted fire activity in San Diego in May.

Its designers hope for more success as the state enters the heart of the traditional fire season.