Lake Elsinore is a community surrounded with steep terrain and brush as volatile as a tinderbox.
"This fuel is 50 plus-years-old," Pemberton said. "It’s dry, and it’s got a lot of dead component in it."
FIREFIGHTERS WORKING AGAINST "LAKE EFFECT"
On top of the drastically dry conditions, Pemberton said crews are dealing with the "Lake Effect."
"In normal conditions, heat rises and so would a fire. A fire would burn up slope," Pemberton said. "In this area when we get a coastal push of pressure, it spills over the Santa Ana Range and causes it to come down to the Elsinore Valley floor."
Pemberton said they've used the tools they have to protect the neighborhood, attacking the flames from above, and on the ground.
"We’ve been spending days taking dozers behind the homes," Pemberton said, adding that they bulldozed about a half-mile up the hill to create a fire break.
Pemberton has one request of the community in return for their hard work: that the community respect evacuation orders and leave before it is too late.
"I shouldn’t have to, after an evacuation order, be putting my troops at risk trying to rescue somebody who didn’t heed an order," he said. "Our community is better than that."