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Wednesday’s Brush Fires In Southern San Diego County Could Be An Ominous Sign Of What’s To Come This Summer

Three firefighters brace themselves from explosive heat coming from a burning...

Photo by Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press

Above: Three firefighters brace themselves from explosive heat coming from a burning home in the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego, set off by a wildfire seen here in a file photo taken Monday, Oct. 22, 2007.

All the growth left behind by a wet winter and spring could end up making this fire season worse than usual.

That’s because as things dry up, all that growth turns into fuel for wildfires.

By Reporter John Carroll

Don't let those lush, green hillsides left behind by a wet winter fool you.

“We see the fuel right now. It’s been out there for quite a while. And what it’s doing in a lot of parts of the county is it’s still changing over from green to brown, essentially it’s still dying," said Cal Fire Captain Issac Sanchez.

Sanchez said that process can happen pretty quickly. “We don’t let our guard down. It doesn’t take very many days of elevated temperatures and low humidities to turn those burning conditions around,” Sanchez said.

In 2003, 2007 and in 2014, San Diego County saw devastating, deadly wildfires that burned thousands of homes. Sanchez said important lessons were learned.

RELATED: Climate Change A Major Culprit In Explosive Wildfires, Says San Diego Researcher

“Everybody across the board recognizes that we have to work together because a fire for one is a fire for everybody and it could potentially affect our neighbors if we’re not cooperating at a high level,” he said.

From north to south, Sanchez said California is seeing the effects of climate change when it comes to wildfires. As a consequence, he said the concept of a “fire season” is outdated.

“It’s hard to argue with the numbers and see that the burning conditions are showing up earlier in the year and sticking around longer,” he said.

Sanchez said Cal Fire is as ready as it can be to deal with whatever mother nature has in store for us in the months to come.

But all of us can help, too. Remember to clear defensible space around your home, and never forget that one little spark can quickly grow into a devastating inferno.

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

In today’s San Diego’s News Matters podcast: Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher is now freed from custody, but the case isn’t over just yet.

Plus, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, continues to defend the San Diego-based Navy SEAL accused of war crimes by saying he also posed with dead bodies and probably killed “hundreds of civilians” while serving in Fallujah; ... Read more →

Aired: May 31, 2019 | Transcript

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