Firefighters: Prepare for the Worst, San Diego - NBC 7 San Diego

Firefighters: Prepare for the Worst, San Diego

Cal Fire is warning homeowners to get ready for a bad fire season.



    Firefighters: Prepare for the Worst, San Diego
    Wildland firefighter hot shot Sterling Rel watches a fire line of a fire threatening houses in the La Cresenta section of Glendale, Calif.

    The raging wildfires to the north could be a bad sign of what's to come in San Diego. Cal Fire is warning homeowners across the County to get ready for what could be a long and devastating fire season.

    The U.S. Forest Service declared extreme fire danger Thursday for the Cleveland National Forest in San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties, the North County Times reported.

    Forest Service officials told the paper they were making the change because the recent hot weather, the ongoing statewide drought and a large amount of dead plant material have left the oak-and-chaparral-covered forest tinder dry.

    The warnings aren't only coming from firefighters -- they're also coming from city leaders who want people to be ready for the worst.

    The Station fire spread so fast, over such a large area and it happened without the help of those strong Santa Ana winds. Cal Fire officials say it's a sign of how dry conditions are all across Southern California. 

    “People in San Diego County need to realize that where the fire burned in 2003 and 2007, that brush has grown back and we could have a large fire burn through that same area again," Battalion Chief Nick Schuler said.

    San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders talked about the city's preparations for fire season.

    “Last year we thinned 529 acres, the most we ever done in a single year and this year we are on track to thin 590 acres of brush," Sanders said.

    Mayor Sanders also reassured residents that firefighters have the tools they need to protect homes and lives.

    "We've also increased our engine reserved fleet from 16 in 2007 to 22 today," he said.

    Cal Fire officials say state resources are also in place, to ensure that the county is ready for what could be another devastating fire season.

    “We've already seen fires start in Southern California, but the homeowners need to be ready, they need 100 feet of defensible space, and evacuation plan," Battalion Chief Schuler said.

    Cal Fire officials say the county also has plenty of air resources, including firefighting helicopters and air tankers and all of them are ready to fly at a moments notice.