CARLSBAD, Calif. — The smoke from the Laguna Niguel fire in Orange County drifted all the way down to North County in San Diego, bringing back fears of a very close call of a surprise winter fire that threatened homes in Carlsbad.
“What are we — first week, second week of May? And we are already having wildfires in the urban interface in costal California. That’s alarming to me,” said Joe Zavattero, a resident living near the Carlsbad lagoon.
The blaze in Laguna Niguel, which officials called the Coastal Fire, could be seen and smelled from the North County neighborhood. Residents said they are taking more precautions after experiencing such a close call.
Experts say climate change has upended their fire season, turning any month in California into a potentially dangerous period.
“You got the Santa Ana (winds), and as dry as it’s been and with the amount of rainfall we’ve had, it does lead to some hazardous conditions,” said John Nash, another Carlsbad resident.
Bringing the Orange County fire further close to home, crews from across San Diego County were in Orange County Wednesday and Thursday to help battle the Coastal Fire.
San Diego Fire-Rescue department had two battalion chiefs and one four-person crew aiding local authorities, said SDFD Public Information Officer Mónica Muñoz.
San Diego Fire Capt. Joe Amador told FOX 5’s Jason Sloss that his crew arrived late Wednesday night to help relieve the local crews.
“We’ve been here ever since trying to support their mission, which is basically just to patrol and protect … some of the remaining structures,” he explained.
“We find it, you know, honorable to come up to another community and come help,” Amador continued. “For us to come up here means that we can turn around, if something happened to San Diego, they’ll be willing to come back and help us should the need arise.”