Amid a red flag warning in Southern California, a fast-moving brush fire burned near Los Angeles. As a precaution, Cal Fire crews also prepared for a possible fire in San Diego County, putting air tankers on call in Ramona. NBC 7’s Matt Rascon reports.
In Glendora, north of Los Angeles, mandatory evacuations were called around 7:30 a.m. for communities at the base of the foothills after a brush fire nearly doubled in size.
Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortiesser said a local strike team and an air tanker left San Diego to help with the "Colby Fire." There is another tanker on standby in San Diego in case it is needed here.
A strike team is made up of five engines, with three members each and a chief officer.
The calendar says January, but Cal Fire officials would like county residents to act like it’s the middle of August, as unseasonably warm temperatures continue to scorch the county.
“We just want people to be on heightened alert and realize we’re in critical fire weather right now”, said Bortiesser. “Even though we’re in January, we need residents to be concerned with what’s happening out there.”
In San Diego, firefighters were busy with one but two brush fires.
At 6 p.m., a fire sparked along Morena Boulevard near the San Diego riverbed. Officials shut down the off-ramp from westbound Interstate 8. Taylor Street was also temporarily blocked off.
While crews fought flames, another fire broke out to the west of the river.
Fire crews said it was fortunate the fires started after dark.
"Anytime we have a fire in the wildland like this during Red Flag conditions we are absolutely lucky and fortunate this didn't happen during the heat of the day when our winds were a lot gustier,” said
Later Wednesday another small brush fire was started along Jamacha Boulevard in Spring Valley.
Firefighters had to work quickly, fearing the fire would spread to homes on top of the hill.
San Diego County’s red flag warning is in effect for the mountains and inland valleys through Friday at 6 p.m.
Northeast winds are expected to reach 15 to 25 mph with guests up to 40 mph according to the National Weather Service.
Meanwhile, Cal Fire is putting out precautionary warnings typically reserved for the summer months.
“We’re talking about defensible space, things like safety when outdoors, outdoor fires and cooking and things like that.
He also advised caution with the Martin Luther King Junior holiday coming up this Monday.
“Typically people like to go camping, they like to go out in the back woods and go shooting. They need to stay in designated areas to make sure shooting is even allowed,” said Bortiesser. “We need people to be aware that, just because it’s a campground, camp fires are not always allowed. There may be restrictions on where camp fires are allowed.