Fire department adds crews amid Santa Ana threats

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SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department will increase staffing Sunday and Monday because of predicted Santa Ana winds, which pose an increased danger in the event of a fire, officials said Saturday.

Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on both days, the fire department will add firefighters on overtime to staff five brush engines.

"In the event of fire weather coming up in the next two days, our concern is multiple fires will start in a further geographic area from each other and we'll need additional resources," Deputy Chief Steve Wright said.

Each fire engine is staffed by four firefighters. Two water tenders will also be staffed on overtime. SDFD pilots and crews will also be on overtime to staff two firefighting helicopters that will be available around the clock Sunday and Monday.

The brush fire engines and water tenders are off-road vehicles. Water tenders are mobile fire hydrants.

"Even a small Santa Ana in these days can cause a rapidly-growing fire, so we're preparing to protect the public," Wright said.

The fire department will monitor weather conditions and will expand or contract staffing, depending on a fire incident or shifting weather patterns.

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