Interior Secretary tours San Diego's fire danger - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Interior Secretary tours San Diego's fire danger

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Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is seen in this photo during an aerial tour of San Diego County. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is seen in this photo during an aerial tour of San Diego County.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It's Wildfire Awareness Week in California and the Secretary of the Interior is getting a feel for San Diego's fire danger.

Tuesday morning CBS News 8 joined Sally Jewell as she took an aerial tour of some of the most fire-prone spots in the county and she had a birds-eye view of the dangerous fire conditions and the hazards firefighters face.

“We did see a number of homes, isolated homes on ridge tops that had not done a good job of preparing themselves for wildland fire and they are highly vulnerable,” said Secretary Jewell.

Conditions across the state so dry and extreme that the governor staffed up Cal Fire to peak conditions April 1 - two months earlier than usual and they've already been very busy.

“We are well above average for this time of year for the amount of fires we've had already and we're seeing unprecedented conditions and fire activity across California,” explained Chief Ken Pimlott with Cal Fire.

Secretary Jewell says if we do face another huge fire federal money will not be an issue when it comes to sending resources and the state says the same holds true from Sacramento.

“Our number one priority is just making sure every fire will be fought and we will make the money follow,” said Secretary John Laird with the California Natural Resources Agency.

But fire leaders, who met with reporters after Secretary Jewell's flight, made it clear preventing those fires from ever starting is goal number one.

They also used this opportunity to remind homeowners to be proactive, a little work now can make a big difference later, if flames are heading for your home.

“Make sure you have defensible space, make sure you have evacuation plans. Just talk about it as a family. Talk about, ‘ok, if we're asked to leave for any disaster quite frankly what would we take and where would be go?’” said Unit Chief Greg Griswold with Cal Fire.

Secretary Jewell says some federal resources are being moved from the south to the west because we have a much greater chance for a big fire. However, she adds that the federal government has to make sure resources are still staged all over the country - just in case.


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