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Worse Santa Ana Winds Expected This Week, Raising Fire Risk

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Strong Santa Ana winds are expected again in San Diego County beginning late Tuesday, raising the threat of wildfires through Thursday evening.

Speaker 1: 00:00 As firefighters battled two major wildfires in California. The situation in San Diego County is comparatively quiet today, but that could change. A red flag warning will begin at 11 tonight and last through Thursday evening at six. The national weather service says this could be the strongest Senate Anna's, we've seen this season for the very latest on the Getty and Kincaid fires in LA and Northern California. Along with how we're getting ready here. I'm joined by captain Isaac Sanchez of Cal fire captain Sanchez. Welcome. Thank you. So can you give us the latest on the Getty fire burning in the Brentwood neighborhood and on the Kincaid fire burning in the wine country?

Speaker 2: 00:39 They are concerning. They are incidents that we are engaged with the local agencies, but uh, um, they continue to burn. They continue to challenge firefighters. I know that the Getty is burning in some pretty, uh, um, a steep canyons at a Southern California is known for, especially that part of LA. Um, and then of course the Kinkaid, uh, it's impacting communities. That's really the, the big, the big issue. It's a, um, um, it's an area, it's starting to hit areas of Sonoma County that are populated. There are significant population, um, uh, I should say evacuations in place and, uh, it's an area that is definitely presenting challenges for everybody.

Speaker 1: 01:12 A red flag warning will go up tonight at 11 for much of Southern California. And as I mentioned, the national weather service says it could be the strongest Santa Ana we've seen this season. What precautions is Cal fire taking here and across the [inaudible]

Speaker 2: 01:25 region? Um, essentially in a term where we're staffing up, uh, we've got resources that have been staffed since last week's event. Uh, we never down staff, we kept them around because we knew that this one was coming. Um, and it's easier to have them around than it is to remobilize, but so we do have a significant, a, um, a presence when it comes to local resources. And then that gets projected across the entire region, Southern California and the rest of the state and are ready, uh, in the event that new fires break out.

Speaker 1: 01:51 And last week, Cal fire crews on the ground. And in the year we're able to knock down both of the solid day fire and the Valley center fire fairly quickly. What worked in your favor on those fires?

Speaker 2: 02:01 Boy, it was a combination of a couple things. The timing on it, uh, worked in our favor because it was when the San Annas were projected to start dying down, which is exactly what they did. Uh, I believe it was supposed to be a early afternoon is when the S the, the, uh, the, the winds were expected to die down, um, which is exactly when the Miller fire was burning. Uh, so that fire, particularly, they didn't have the aggressive winds or the strong winds like the Saudi did. Uh, when it comes to the Saudi, uh, it was a combination of an aggressive, uh, uh, initial attack and having those resources available immediately, uh, to, to put on that incident.

Speaker 1: 02:35 And how does planning for a fire work, because you know, B fire behavior can change in an instant. So how do you plan and prepare for [inaudible]?

Speaker 2: 02:44 So when it comes to, uh, before the actual event. So that's when, that's when fires start or I should say that's when the preparation start. We identify that there is going to be a, an issue that will potentially have to deal with when it comes to the weather and we start staffing resources before the fire ever starts. Um, and so, uh, in this case we had a, a fully staffed up our resources, but, uh, additionally the other agencies across San Diego County had staffed up their additional resources and then a, a regionally, um, our regional coordination center up in Riverside County had brought in several out-of-state resources just to stage in them in the event that a fire broke out. And they were certainly utilize that day. And whenever we see fires elsewhere in the state, the question always comes up, are we sending resources to help? And if so, how do we make sure we're covered down here?

Speaker 2: 03:27 How are you guys balancing that? So you're referring to what we call mutual aid, uh, in the state of California and in, in, uh, the, the name tells us, tells the story. We're, we're there to assist one another because we know one day we're going to need assistance and uh, and it gets put to use every year and everybody benefits eventually. Um, but in, in when it comes to mutual aid, uh, we have to balance our ability to, um, initiate a, an aggressive initial attack. And we never give more resources than we can afford to give. We still have a responsibility to protect our Homeland, our home front. Um, and we will give resources, but not to the point that it's a detrimental, uh, um, to the community locally. Best advice for people as the Santa Ana winds head in tonight. Boy, it's the same advice that we always give regardless of the time of year.

Speaker 2: 04:13 Be prepared, uh, that comes with a, you know, having that means having your, your personal evacuation plans in place. Uh, we're not necessarily recommending that folks do their defensible space clearance right now, uh, because, uh, the risk of, of, uh, starting a fire, um, is too high. Uh, but definitely have your evacuation plans in place and you gotta register for evacuation alerts because sometimes, uh, the knock on the door isn't the way that we deliver that message. And how can people register for evacuation alert? They can go to ready San and follow a couple of links and they'll be on the page to, uh, to a, to register. I've been speaking with captain Isaac Sanchez with Cal fire captain Sanchez. Thank you so much. Thank you.

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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.