SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department increased firefighting staff levels Thursday as the city and county brace for a potential fire threat heightened by Santa Ana winds.
SDFD officials said personnel will be added on overtime for a strike team and other department needs. Two water tenders and two firefighting helicopters will be available around the clock in the event of an emergency, officials said.
The increased staffing is expected to last through Saturday morning, with necessary changes being made based on fire incidents or weather conditions.
Meanwhile, the department has sent dozens of firefighters to assist in the Briceburg Fire in Mariposa County. Those firefighters may remain in Mariposa County for up to 14 days, depending on how the fire develops.
With a Red Flag Warning set to take effect in San Diego County at 12 p.m. Thursday, San Diego Gas & Electric has alerted about 34,000 of its customers that it may suspend their electrical service at times over the period to reduce combustion hazards posed by power lines, the utility company reported.
SDG&E advised that it plans to provide updated notifications to customers within 24 hours of an anticipated power-down, and again within one to four hours of a shut-off, if possible.
Among areas that could be affected are Alpine, Banner Grade, Boulevard, Campo, Descanso, Fallbrook, Julian, Mesa Grande, Mount Laguna, Oak Grove, Palomar Mountain, Pine Valley, Potrero, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, Rincon, Santa Ysabel, Valley Center, Viejas, Vista, Warner Springs, Valley Center and Wynola.
SDG&E advises those who have received the notification to be prepared, making sure they have such emergency supplies as water, food, flashlights, extra batteries and cellphone battery packs.
Should any precautionary power shut-off last for more than 24 hours, the utility plans to open temporary aid centers where customers can get water and snacks, charge their cellphones, and get updates.
City News Service contributed to this report