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CAL FIRE increases manpower during heightened fire risk

Posted at 7:04 PM, Oct 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-23 22:04:57-04

RANCHO SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - With high temperatures, humidity and wind speeds, CAL FIRE is taking steps to be extra prepared for a wildfire event.

CAL FIRE Fire Captain Kendal Bortisser says after they sent many resources to Northern California, the fire risk heightened in San Diego County. They had to begin making staffing preparations at home because they say the homefront is their number one priority.

CAL FIRE has two strike teams on standby, one in Rancho San Diego and the other in Rancho Santa Fe.

The strike team crews are from the San Diego Fire Department and each includes five brush trucks and 22 firefighters. The crews have been on standby for 11 days and are ready to respond to any vegetation fires that CAL FIRE needs them on.

Crews returning from Northern California will not be getting a break once they return home due to elevated fire risk.

"They do need a break, that would be nice, however they've been on the clock for probably three weeks now, nonstop, and coming back to San Diego County, you see this weather pattern we're in right now, unfortunately those days off have been cancelled, they've had to come right back to work," said Bortisser.

The San Diego Fire department also increased staffing, adding an additional 60 firefighters on Monday.

CAL FIRE is footing the bill for the strike teams and says they've already been deployed three to four times over the last 11 days.