SAN DIEGO -- Cal Fire San Diego is adding nearly 30 firefighters to its ranks following a new executive order signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom.
The state budget, signed by the governor last month, invests nearly $1 billion in emergency preparedness, response and recovery.
Twenty-eight seasonal firefighters will start their training next week, said Cal Fire Capt. Thomas Shoots. They will be stationed at one of Cal Fire's 18 wildland stations throughout San Diego County, providing a fourth crew member to three-person engine crews.
"That’s a huge asset," Shoots told FOX 5.
The governor's order will add nearly 400 additional firefighters and 13 engines across the state. One engine will be added to San Diego County's Warner Springs station.
The surge in staffing comes just as Southern California heads into peak fire season. Cal Fire is predicting another above-average season in San Diego County.
“We’re looking at above-average, large fire potential for September and October," Shoots said. "That shows us that the fuel moistures are going to be lower than average and the weather patterns are going to be more dangerous than in the past.”
Shoots said so far, fire season is off to a slow start but will intensify quickly as fuels continue to dry out.
"Don’t get complacent, don’t get comfortable," Shoots said. "We’ve been very fortunate lately with the weather pattern we’ve been seeing but it’s going to continue to get hotter and drier as we move through the summer and these big fires can and will start to happen.”
Cal Fire urges residents to prepare by clearing defensible space around their homes. Learn more about how to prepare here.