SAN DIEGO (CNS) - With widespread dry lightning strikes possible in the mountains this weekend and strong winds forecast for the upcoming week, state firefighting officials have increased their readiness across Southern California, including the San Diego area, authorities reported Friday.
Cal Fire has responded to the predicted wildfire hazards by adding personnel in its emergency command centers, staffing its reserve fire engines and activating additional fire crews and bulldozers so they are available around the clock, agency spokesman Mike Mohler said.
Thunderstorms that occur without accompanying rainfall -- conditions forecast for eastern San Diego from Sunday through Wednesday or Thursday -- greatly increase the odds of wildfires.
"Due to the conditions we are experiencing this year, it is critical that we are prepared for any possible outcome from this (atmospheric) event," Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said. "We are prepared, and we ask that the residents and visitors of California do their part to prevent any new wildfires."
Cal Fire urged the public to help reduce fire danger by:
-- limiting mowing and mechanized weed removal to morning hours before 10 a.m., and avoiding those activities entirely during extremely dry or windy conditions;
-- refraining from the use of lawn mowers in dry vegetation; and
-- ensuring that campfires are allowed in a given wilderness area before starting one and extinguishing any allowable ones completely when done with them.