Technology helping local fire planners

SAN DIEGO - Fire agencies in San Diego County are using technology to help firefighters determine the areas most vulnerable to a brush fire.

Taking samples of the brush and adding in current weather data is not painting a very favorable fire picture for the county.

"We're seeing fire conditions that we don't normally see for another two months," said U.S. Forest Service Deputy Chief Brian Rhodes.  

The Cleveland National Forest is roughly 500,000 acres in San Diego County and fuel moisture levels are already below critical levels.

"The threshold for fuel moisture is 60 percent; we're already at 55 and 50 percent in much of the forest," Rhodes said.  

It explains why Rhodes said we're seeing fire behavior in Riverside County in the Falls and Silver fires and why it's not a stretch of the imagination to see the same thing in San Diego County.

Brush samples are taken every two weeks and the weather data is updated every 10 minutes.  

"It won't prevent a fire," Rhodes said, "but it will at least help us pinpoint where a major event is likely to occur."

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