When the San Diego Fire Department first heard reports of a brush fire burning near the freeway in Grantville, a crew nearly twice the normal size was sent to knock it down.
A red flag warning is scheduled to last until Wednesday evening as the county defends against Santa Ana winds and dangerously-low humidity levels. In these conditions, brush fires can turn catastrophic in the blink of an eye.
For that reason, SDFD and other local fire agencies have been ramping up staffing so that they can have crews ready to respond to and extinguish spot fires before they turn deadly.
In Grantville, a campfire spread several yards down a brush-filled riverbed faster than the person who called 911 could get off the phone.
Firefighters quickly contained the fire to around 30 square feet and had it put out within minutes, but still kept four engines and a brush rig at the scene to make sure things stayed under control.
"On a normal day you would get two fire engines and that is all responding to a matter like this," Battalion Chief Rick Ballard told NBC 7. Fire officials said the fire went from 3 feet tall to 30 feet tall in a matter of seconds.
The all-hands on strategy also helped in Fallbrook where a fire that broke out in the afternoon along Mission Road was stopped within 15 minutes.
The dangerous fire weather forced San Diego Gas & Electric to shut off power to some customers in some fire-prone areas, and school districts in impacted communities were forced to close campuses.
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