Cal Fire warns residents to be wildfire ready - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Cal Fire warns residents to be wildfire ready

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - El Nino will leave its mark this summer, and Cal Fire is gearing up for peak fire season earlier than usual this year. 

County officials say despite recent rains, much of the area is still dry and susceptible to wild fire. Though the rich greenery in East County may look luscious, Cal Fire warns it could turn to wildfire fuel. 

Art Mann started cutting back brush making room for defensible space around his Alpine Home. 

"The growth is higher than it normally is and it's going to dry out come June or July. It's going to be dry," said Mann. 

On Thursday, San Diego County fire and Cal Fire along with county officials raised awareness about an early fire season. 

RELATED: Wildfire Preparedness

"This is not a back country problem, this is all the way out to Point Loma and anywhere that butts to wild land needs to take this seriously," said San Diego Cal Fire Chief, Tony Mecham. 

County Supervisor Diane Jacob said the state has dedicated $350 million for personnel, adding 30 additional firefighters to start early. An agreement between the U.S. Marines and Cal Fire has added a MV22 Osprey to its arsenal. 

"We are ready. The firefighters are ready. Now it's up to all of us to be ready," said Jacob. 

Art Mann said he has now cleared about 500-feet around his home - cutting down 16 to 17 pine and eucalyptus trees. Mann knows what it's like to lose his home. 

In 2014, the Pale Verde Ranch home burned down in an electrical fire. Officials said it may not be a firefighter who saves a home, but the homeowners' efforts during wildfire season. 

County emergency services leaders recommended San Diegans to register their cellphone numbers for mass notification. Also, the county's emergency app sends out alerts and helps families put together a disaster plan. 

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