SAN DIEGO – As several fires burn in Northern California, Cal Fire San Diego is urging caution as the peak of fire season is just around the corner.

So far this year, the Golden State has totaled 6,465 incidents, burning through 365,140 acres. 

A dry summer ending with excessive heat in San Diego County was slightly cured by recent rainfall, but the region is not out of the woods yet. According to the National Weather Service in San Diego, as early as next week the county may see its first wave of weak Santa Anas, and while rain from Tropical Storm Kay offered some relief, by October all leftover moisture in the ground will run dry.

“We don’t like people to rest on their lulls or rest on their heels at all during that time so we want to make sure that people still know that there is a potential for fire even though we did get some rain across the county,” Cal Fire Captain Neil Czapinski told FOX 5 Tuesday.

In the coming fall months, especially October, is the time of year when gusty easterly Santa Ana wind events move through San Diego County. It’s something residents in Alpine are well aware of, doing what they can to prevent the spread of dangerous wildfires in their mountain regions.

“I like to keep a little bag of essentials in my room, like a little duffel bag full of clothes at least,” Marilyn Engelhardt told FOX 5.

William Bock has lived in Alpine for 17 years. He emphasized cutting down on brush, clearing debris, and making way for fire crews.

We try to get a leg up on it by clearing all the area around because that’s just the way mother nature is, she just keeps coming year after year, more and more,” he said.

Cal Fire is now stressing how a little preparation can go a long way with “Ready, Set, Go!”, an action plan categorized into three steps:

  • READY: Cal Fire suggests residents maintain defensible space and harden homes to combat flying embers. 
  • SET: San Diegans are urged to prepare an evacuation plan ahead of time, knowing what you should leave behind and what you should take. 
  • GO: When a wildfire nears your home, it’s best to leave early and head to safety. 

“It’s more important for you to get out of that area and replace your things later, and make sure you and your loved ones are safe.”


NEIL CZAPINSKI, FIRE CAPTAIN, CAL FIRE SAN DIEGO