CAL FIRE INCREASES STAFFING IN PREPARATION FOR SANTA ANA WINDS

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Source: CAL FIRE

October 20, 2017 (San Diego) -- As Firefighters in Northern California continue to make progress on 9 large wildfires burning across the State, the true magnitude of the devastation of loss of life and property is beginning to come to life.  This recent series of fires is the deadliest in California State History. Since the start of the October Fire Siege on October 8, there have been 21 major wildfires that burned over 245,000 acres, forced 100,000 people to evacuate, destroyed 6,900 structures and sadly took the lives of 42 people.    

“As many of our firefighters begin to return back to the County, we now turn our focus to the critical fire weather conditions that will be moving into Southern California the next few days,” says CAL FIRE Captain and public information officer Kendal Bortisser. A fire weather watch is in effect for this weekend through early next week due to low humidity, high temperatures and gusty winds.  A Santa Ana Wind event will develop on Sunday in San Diego County.  Fuels throughout the County are very dry and will support significant fire activity should an ignition occur.  

“Though CAL FIRE has year round staffing in Southern California, these conditions have warranted adding additional resources for the duration of the Fire Weather Watch that bring an elevated threat of wildfire," said Chief Tony Mecham, CAL FIRE San Diego Unit and County Fire Chief.  He adds:

  • All personnel will be called back to work.
  •  San Diego County Fire Reserve Firefighters are being utilized to increase staffing on all front line fire engines.
  • Reserve Firefighters are covering 5 County Water Tenders
  •  Defense Support to Civilian Authorities, Immediate Response Agreement, has been enacted and CAL FIRE personnel are assigned to the Navy and Marine Corps in the event Military helicopters are needed.
  • Cal Fire is funding the City of San Diego to staff a Strike Team of Wild land Fire Engines for the weekend.
  • Funding is also supporting the North Zone to staff a Strike Team of Wild land Fire Engines for the weekend.
  • CAL FIRE has also made contact with CONOFOR (Baja Mexico version of CAL FIRE) and is prepared to use its agreement with Mexico if needed.
  • CAL FIRE has opened Brown Field Reload Base will be bringing in two large air tankers

CAL FIRE is asking everyone to be extra cautious during the heightened fire danger period in order to prevent wildfires. One Less Spark means One Less Wildfire.

For more fire prevention tips visit www.PreventWildfireCA.org and for evacuation tips visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org. and www.ReadySanDiego.org

Comments

Cal Fire Funding Local Govt Strike Teams???

Cal Fire is funding a S.D. City (Metro Zone) and a North Zone wildland strike team this weekend? Well, that covers two of the four fire zones in the county. I suppose their upstaffing also covers the East Zone where the S.D. County Fire AUTHORITY (not department) serves. So, I guess this leaves the Central (formerly Heartland) Zone with no extra resource commitment. Curious that the communities that suffered some of the most devastating losses in the Cedar Fire would be left out of the equation? Just for the record, these are the communities not included in Chief Meacham's increased protection plan for the upcoming Santa Ana wind event: Alpine, Crest, Viejas, Rancho San Diego, El Cajon, Lakeside, Eucalyptus Hills, Blossom Valley, Flinn Springs, Bostonia, Spring Valley, La Presa, Casa De Oro, Mt.Helix, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Sycuan, Wildcat Canyon, Muth Valley, Barona. So here are some questions: Did Chief Meacham select the areas to receive and not receive state funding? What criteria were used for that selection? Are these actually county, not state, funds being used for the upstaffing? If so, how will Supervisor Jacob explain to her constituents that they were left out of this unprecedented funding of local government resources? I suppose this will become a much more important issue should a wildfire affect the Central Zone in the next few days. Stand by. This is a good resource to learn about S.D. County Fire Zones: http://lakesidefire.net/lakeside-fire-zones/