San Diego

Heartland Fire & Rescue Hosts Open House Events, Demos

Firefighters are gearing up for some of the worst wildfire conditions San Diego has seen in decades, with Santa Ana winds expected throughout the fall season

Amid Fire Prevention Week and possible Santa Ana conditions in San Diego, a local fire agency will host educational open house events this weekend and next that include fire rescue demonstrations.

Heartland Fire & Rescue in San Diego’s East County plans to host three events in three communities, starting with an open house Saturday in El Cajon, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 100 E. Lexington Ave.

The family-friendly events will include fire rescue demonstrations such as “sidewalk CPR” and emergency dispatchers discussing how and when to call 911. Visitors will also be able to check out emergency vehicles on display and speak with firefighters, police and paramedics about safety.

The open houses will also focus on at-home fire drills, reminding families to practice their escape plans at least twice a year, mapping out different ways to get out and what to do while you’re evacuating.


The agency’s events come as National Fire Prevention Week kicks off, Sunday through Oct. 14.

Heartland Fire & Rescue will host two more events open to the public next weekend: a pancake breakfast and open house in Lemon Grove on Oct. 14, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., at 7853 Central Ave. and an open house on Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 8054 Allison Ave.

The events also come at a time when San Diegans could see an elevated risk of wildfires as potential Santa Ana conditions may bring stronger than usual winds to our region.

“Very warm and very dry,” NBC 7 weather anchor Whitney Southwick said Friday, describing the days ahead.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting strong, northeast winds from Cajon Pass to northern Orange County and west of San Gorgonio Pass this weekend.

In San Diego, humidity levels have dropped, even along the coastline, Southwick said. Meantime, temperatures are rising.

All this, combined with the tens of thousands of acres of tinder-dry brush, spells an elevated fire danger for San Diego County and all of Southern California through Saturday. 

Federal officials are monitoring conditions throughout Southern California.

According to the Santa Ana Fire Threat Index, marginal risk means fires may grow rapidly. A moderate risk means upon ignition, fires will grow rapidly and will be difficult to control.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) is gearing up this season for some of the worst wildfire conditions San Diego County has seen in decades.

SDFD Chief Brian Fennessy recently told city officials the fuels are the driest he's seen in his 40 years working in the field.

SDFD officials said they have the staff and equipment necessary to handle blazes as they flare up. However, residents are always encouraged to do their part by clearing defensible space around their homes.

NBC 7's Audra Stafford reports how wildfires are still a major concern for San Diego firefighters even as the first day of fall approaches.
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