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Cal Fire Says Drought Makes Fire Preparedness More Important Than Ever

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

A Cal Fire decal is seen on the side of one of the state agency's vehicle.

The state of California is asking people to prepare for fire season by clearing brush and by developing evacuation plans. Cal Fire is preparing by hiring firefighters and by trying to acquire more equipment.

Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott says most of the firefighting aircraft stationed in the Sacramento area have already been deployed to fires in other parts of the state.

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Follow our latest coverage of wildfires in San Diego.

"As we speak, the Department of Defense is working with the Coast Guard under a defense authorization act to actually modify seven C-130 aircraft to be retrofitted to become air tankers to come into the federal aviation program and fleet," he says.

Last year's fire season in Southern California never really ended. The state has spent $130 million fighting fires since last July and expects to spend another $80 million by the end of June.

Cal Fire says the agency has responded to 1,200 fires statewide since January 1 — twice the average number of fires for this time of year.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared this week "Wildfire Awareness Week."

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