SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The San Diego Fire Department is adding more crews and gear during the hot and dry weather, and an unusually high level of brush and grass as possible fuel.
On Saturday at 8 a.m., the SDFD will call into duty an additional five brush engines, each with four crew members, and two water tenders. The Metro Zone Emergency Command & Data Center and Air Operations Section staffing will also be increased. The department will add more resources as needed, depending on weather changes.
Brush engines are capable of off-road duties and carry between 600 and 1500 gallons of water. SDFD water tenders carry 3000 gallons of water and supply engines during brush fires.
The department says the extra crews are necessary because last winter’s heavy rains created significant fuel for wildfires which can burn quickly when combined with high temperatures and low humidity. The National Weather Service said weak Santa Ana winds will occur this weekend and may increase in intensity at the beginning of next week.
The San Diego Fire Department is encouraging homeowners to be prepared. As many as 80 percent of the homes consumed by fire each year could have been saved if the owners had followed fire-safe practices, the SDFD said. The department recommends leaving your home early instead of waiting for firefighters to tell you to leave. Firefighters also recommend you create an disaster plan.
“San Diegans can be prepared by creating an emergency plan and practicing that plan,” said Fire Chief Brian Fennessy. ”Having two safe ways to exit your home and also mapping out and practicing a safe evacuation route in advance can save lives and serious injury.”
October is a historically dangerous month for wildfires. Three of California’s deadliest fires have occurred in October. The most recent was the Border Fire in 2016, which killed two people.