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Sacramento September 23, 2016 – CAL FIRE has increased firefighter staffing in preparation for several days of Santa Ana winds and extreme fire conditions in Southern California. The National Weather Service has issued several “Red Flag Warnings” and “Fire Weather Watches” due to low humidity and gusty winds that could reach up to 55mph. The warnings went into effect today and are expected to last through Sunday. They include the mountains and valleys of Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties. The Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index is now showing a ”High” category for many areas.

“Traditionally, late September through mid-November is Santa Ana season,” said Chief Thom Porter, CAL FIRE Southern Region chief. “Many of the State’s largest and most damaging wildfires coincide with this time of year.”

With the heightened fire danger and increased potential for new fires, CAL FIRE has placed additional firefighters on duty to staff extra equipment and aircraft across the State.

“We have increased our staffing, but need the public to be vigilant in reporting fires and follow the Ready, Set, Go principles,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “It is important to follow evacuation orders and leave early as fires move very fast under these conditions, especially with the high level of tree mortality we are experiencing in many areas.”

CAL FIRE is asking everyone to be extra cautious during the heightened fire danger period in order to prevent wildfires. One Less Spark means One Less Wildfire.

Here are some fire prevention tips:

  • Don’t mow or trim dry grass on windy days
  • Never pull your vehicle over in dry grass
  • Target shoot only in approved areas, use lead ammunition only, and never at metal
  • Ensure campfires are allowed, and if so, be sure to extinguish them completely
  • Make sure all portable gasoline-powered equipment has a spark arrester
  • Report any suspicious activities to prevent arson

For more fire prevention tips and evacuation steps visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org.