Cal Fire crews Monday will go into 24-hour stand-by mode at fire stations throughout the Inland Empire in the face of tinderbox conditions exacerbated by meager winter rainfall in the region.
According to the state agency, peak staffing will go into effect at facilities in Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.
"Even with rain (this month), our fire activity has remained 200 percent over average statewide," Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said last week. "The rain has been great, but it has not been enough to make up for our dry winter and California's drought."
The seasonal workforce increases in Southern California don't typically begin until May or June.
So far this year, Cal Fire has responded to more than 800 wildfires. In an average year for the same time period, its personnel would typically fight fewer than 275 blazes, officials said.
Homeowners were advised to take precautionary steps to protect their properties. More information is available at www.ReadyforWildfire.org .
– City News Service.