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Fire risk puts firefighters on standby

Posted at 5:35 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 20:35:18-05

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — As Santa Ana winds trigger a Wind Advisory throughout much of San Diego County, firefighters say brush fires could erupt during Thanksgiving.

But local first responders say they're ready. Art Holcomb has been an Escondido Firefighter for 26 years.

"The brush is extremely dry and very volatile," said Holcomb.

"There's a very strong possibility that fires could break out."

First responders around the county say they're ready to jump into action, as Santa Ana winds could bring peak wind gusts as fast as 40 miles per hour to inland communities like Escondido. In the mountain, those gusts could reach 60 miles per hour.

"We get an air pattern that pushes the wind offshore, which tends to dry things out extremely fast. With the WIND event and the low relative humidities, it's very easy for a fire to gain a foothold and go."

Holcomb also says his department is preparing in case wildfires spread quickly because of Thanksgiving's Santa Ana winds.

"A specific engine in Escondido will call a crew back and have them work on that engine," said Holcomb.

"Then they just patrol around the city in case a fire breaks out. If it's gonna be within the boundaries of the city of Escondido, our first arriving units on the East end of town are gonna be there within minutes. Like two to five minutes."

He says the department usually uses small, maneuverable trucks to battle brush fires. They can carry up to 300 gallons of water, while larger ones can hold up to 500 gallons. And firefighters say they're thinking about which areas may become hotspots.

"We have a lot of heavy vegetation on the east end of the city. There's a lot of possibility for fire to carry an impact into the city of Escondido based on the amount of vegetation that's out there."