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ORANGE, Calif. – 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.