CalFire Beefs Up Seasonal Ranks Ahead Of Schedule
Monday, March 31, 2014
The threat of wildfire heightened by the state's drought has prompted CalFire to beef up its seasonal firefighting ranks ahead of schedule.
CalFire officials said that beginning Monday several hundred seasonal firefighters are being brought on to staff fire stations from the Sacramento foothills to San Diego County.
“Even with rain in March, our fire activity has remained 200 percent more over average statewide,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CalFire director. “The rain has been great, but it has not been enough to make up for our dry winter and California’s drought."
Peak staffing levels will occur in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. That means all equipment and facilities will be staffed around the clock. The move comes several months earlier than normal but is needed as spring temperatures rise and dry out conditions even more, officials said.
Between Jan. 1 and March 22, CalFire responded to more than 800 wildfires that burned nearly 2,300 acres. Agency firefighters would typically respond to fewer than 275 wildfires during that period, officials said, with about 1,000 acres charred.
CalFire asks that homeowners prepare for wildfires by maintaining 100 feet of defensible space around their properties. For more information on preparing for wildfires and defensible space, go to ReadyForWildfire.org.