Local fire crews prepared for active and dangerous fire season - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local fire crews prepared for active and dangerous fire season

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - San Diego fire crews are helping fight a massive wildfire burning in Ventura County, and another blaze in Riverside County.

Local fire officials say despite resources being dispatched the north, they are prepared to protect local areas during dangerous conditions.

Fire officials say the size of the Ventura County fire, which was burning out of control for days, is a worrisome signal that California is in for an active and dangerous fire season.

"It's always daunting. We don't expect big fires to break out this time of year," said Chief Javier Mainar.

In fact, with little rainfall and extreme weather condition, fire officials are already predicting a record setting year in California.

San Diego is no exception. On Friday alone, crews battled a 120 acre brush fire in Otay Mesa. Another blaze broke out in Valley Center. Firefighters were also on hand to put out a hot spot along Highway 94.

Mayor Bob Filner said, "We have to protect our homes, the community."

During a wildfire preparedness meeting in Rancho Peñasquitos Friday morning, Filner joined fire personnel in urging people to help them this year, by making sure there is at least 100 feet of defensible space around homes.

Chief Mainar said, "Firefighters often have to make decisions to decide which homes to protect. There's not enough firefighters to protect them all."

A fuel age map shows places in the county that have not burned in over 40 years. And according to Filner, there's not enough staffing to cover all areas.

"Our budget has got to be improved to meet these needs," he said. "We have a long way to go."

Despite those obstacles, and the fact local crews are in Ventura and Riverside counties helping fight fires there, residents here are given this reassurance:

"Down here, we will be fully staffed with all of our units staffed."

One way they manage to stay staffed is by calling in reserve trucks and firefighters, as well as having employees work overtime.

The good news for this weekend at least, the red flag warning did end earlier Friday.

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