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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cal Fire boosts fire season staffing after 'extremely' dry winter

Cal Fire staffingCalFire hand crews from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation cut brush in the mountains north of Fillmore on April 9 to get full containment of a brush fire that damaged two homes and threatened more. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
 California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is beefing up its staffing in anticipation of a fire season officials worry could be affected by an "extremely" dry winter, the agency announced.

CalFire has hired and trained seasonal firefighters that will help staff seasonal stations and some helicopters "around the clock," according to a department statement.

The agency announced Monday it had begun "transitioning into fire season" in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

The agency said a snow survey conducted in late March indicated low snow levels, as the Northern Sierra Nevada received only 5 1/2 inches of rain between January and March--a potential record low. Cal Fire officials are "concerned about the impact to this year's fire season."

Officials asked Southern California homeowners to take recommended precautions, including: clearing 100 feet of defensible space around their homes; removing needles and leaves from roofs and rain gutters; trimming branches 6 feet off the ground, and using powered lawn and landscaping equipment in cooler morning hours.


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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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