|CalFire 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)|
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.