Crews prepare for increased fire risk amid extreme heat

Weather

SAN DIEGO — With triple-digit heat in the forecast, fire crews across San Diego County are preparing for the next few days.

“We live in a combustible county,” said Deputy Fire Chief David Gerboth of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. “It’s an environment where wildfires are certainly present in our communities and so we need to be respectful of that and what we’re doing,”

Firefighters are reminding homeowners that they should have already cleared defensible space around their homes, and in this heat, no one should be using until weedwhackers or clearing brush until the heat wave passes.

The department is fully staffed, making sure their brush rigs are ready to roll and watching the weather closely.

“If we do see a need to staff additional companies, personnel then we will certainly do that,” Gerboth said.

After California posted the worst wildfire damage in the state’s history in 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom says he has boosted the state’s budget by $500 million.

Firefighters say residents need to avoid careless mistakes over the next few days.

“Chains on trailers, cigarettes that get thrown out windows — a lot of things that seem mundane actually can be very destructive,” Gerboth said.

Firefighters say three things hitting the region hard during this heat wave are general temperatures, the drought conditions from the past year and on top of that, all the fuels that are ready to burn.

The one thing working in crews’ favor is that that there is currently no major wildfire in California, so all of their crews are right where they should be.

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