Firefighters prepare and train for wildfire season - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Firefighters prepare and train for wildfire season

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - California's ongoing drought is making fire conditions even more dangerous here in San Diego.

As the summer's hot and dry weather approaches, county fire crews joined forces to prepare, especially after the big fires last year that happened in May.

Alpine and the Viejas Indian Reservation are the perfect spots for 700 fire fighters to hone their skills.

According fire crews, conditions right now are mimicking those which would be seen at the end of May, beginning of June.

"There are houses, urban interface, mixed with wild-land setting, so the reservation gives us the opportunity to practice those situations in real life, which we encounter during a wildfire," said Sonny Saghera. 

The wildfire exercise gave different fire agencies to practice working together.

"I think it's really great. We lost our house in 2001, and I am so grateful to see them working to train to fight wildfires here," said Alpine resident Diane Francis.

During the exercise, firefighters did not battle flames, but they did work up a sweat by carrying hoses through thick brush for structure protection and cutting brush to make fire breaks.

At one point during the exercise, SDG&E dropped a power line across a driveway, which many law enforcement officers completely missed.

"We rather kill them in training and not in real life. Our goal is to protect people, property, and everyone goes home at the end of the day," said Captain Mike Vacio. 

Several water drops were also part of the fire drill to make sure communication is solid between crews on the ground and those in the air.

Firefighters know it is not a matter of if there will a fire, but when.

Fire crews from Oceanside to Tijuana participated in the exercises, along with local military and law enforcement.

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