SAN DIEGO — On a cool, cloudy day, fire crews were getting ready for what’s coming — hotter, drier conditions and a high risk for wildfires.
For San Diego County fire crews, fire prevention includes roadside assistance.
On Thursday, a water tender sprayed retardant along Otay Lakes Road near Chula Vista, dousing brush within ten feet of the road.
The retardant is clear, but similar to what’s dropped from planes.
“That is a salt-based solution that sits on the brush and prohibits it from burning — so that retardant that we can spray, is good until the first major rainstorm that we get in the year,” said San Diego County Fire Chief Tony Mecham.
Crews are spraying along Otay Lakes Road, Paradise Mountain Road in Valley Center and Wildcat Canyon between Lakeside and Ramona — all areas where big roadside fires have ignited in the past. And where traditional brush clearance – either burning or mechanical – isn’t an option.
It will also make areas safer for firefighters and the public if they have to use the roads during a fire.
“Our hope is as a fire approaches a roadside that we reduce the intensity of the fire and also that fires that may ignite from cars, from carbon particles, from cigarettes, from those types of things, will not burn in the brush,” said Mecham.
Also Thursday, in preparation of wildfire season, San Diego Gas and Electric ran a test of its public notification system. As part of this test, alerts went out to around 90 residential and commercial customers around the county who had been previously notified they would receive test alerts by phone, text message and email.
“We want to do our part through this notification test to ensure that our partners and customers get the information that they need, especially as we enter into those summer months where we tend to see increased pressure on the grid and especially during peak wildfire season where there’s always the potential for a public safety power shut off as a last resort to help protect homes and communities when there’s high fire risk,” said Candace Hadley, an SDG&E spokesperson.