The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is increasing its staffing statewide in response to the drought emergency and unusually dry conditions, officials announced Tuesday.
Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for California on Jan. 17. He asked residents to conserve water in what could be the driest year on record.
He also instructed Cal Fire to staff up. As a result, the department has added 125 firefighters and extended seasonal employees.
Cal Fire is also staffing five air bases that normally would be closed in February including Ramona in San Diego County and Hemet in Riverside County.
The move would keep eight air tankers and four planes on standby if needed anywhere in Southern California.