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San Diego heatwave raising fire danger concerns for East County residents

With people all across San Diego County feeling the heat, firefighters say the excessive temperatures coupled with high winds are making the dry brush ripe for fires

EL CAJON, Calif. — People all across the county felt the heat on Friday. The excessive temperatures, dry brush and windy conditions have firefighters on high alert.

Tina Belvedere says she normally clears the weeds from her garden in the morning due to the hot weather but on Saturday she stepped outside her Pecan Park mobile home in El Cajon to walk her two dogs Cali and Maggie.

"I can't work for a long time in the heat because I have MS, so heat triggers my exacerbations,” said Belvedere, who was outside with her husband John Belvedere.

Landscapers nearby got their weed-wacking work done in the dry canyon near the Belvedere home that prompted Tina's concern.

"If somebody sparks, and we have the wind, it is just going to carry,” Belvedere said.

That's part of the urgent message CAL Fire crews hope catch on with residents during a heat wave.

"On hot days like this there's always a little bit of a heightened chance of starting a fire whether it is a roadside start from people using any mechanical equipment in their yard or anything like that,” said CAL Fire Captain and PIO Neil Czapinski.

Czapinski says it was the wind that quickly spread a 5 acre fire in Granite Hills Friday afternoon that got close to homes.

"It started in near somebody's yard and it ended up racing to the top of the hill,” Czapinski said.

CAL Fire crews are still Orange County mopping up the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel that claimed 20 homes late Wednesday.

"Watching these million-dollar homes, it didn't take much for them to go up because it is dry and hot,” Belvedere said.

Tina says her neighbors are typically good about clearing defensible space behind their home.

"But still if we don't keep our back area cleaned up and maintain some type of fire clearance, then pretty much the house is gone,” Belvedere said.

Czapinski said now, is probably not the time because of the hot weather, to try and do your clearance to do your defensible space.

“Those things are what you should try to be done when it is a little cooler out when it is earlier in the day just so that there is less of a chance of starting a fire,” Czapinski said.

WATCH RELATED: Firefighters continue to knock down Coastal Fire in Orange County as flames destroy 20+ homes