Officials on alert for fire season

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – Sunshine and 90-degree heat are quickly drying the grasses that sprouted during winter and early spring, putting firefighters on alert in a valley where nothing has burned for two summers. “We’re getting into some warmer temperature and warm conditions,” said Ron Haralson, a Los Angeles County Fire Department inspector. “Brush fires are always a potential here in Southern California.” As a damp cool spring gives way to summer-like weather, Santa Clarita Valley temperatures rose from the 70s on Tuesday to over 90 Wednesday and near 90 Thursday. On Wednesday, county firefighters quickly doused a blaze that scorched less than a half acre near Gorman. Haralson said county crews have stepped-up fire preparedness – from monitoring to brush clearing. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals“There are some concerns,” Haralson said. “We are in the month of our brush clearance.” Los Angeles has received about 12.34 inches of rain since the season began July 1 – about 2.53 inches short of the annual average and a far cry from the record 37.25 inches last year, according to the National Weather Service. Northern Los Angeles County and the Angeles National Forest haven’t seen a major conflagration since July 2004, when wind-driven fires scorched an estimated 34,000 acres. Cid Morgan, the U.S. Forest Service ranger in the Angeles’ Santa Clara/Mojave Rivers district, said forest crews have begun preparing for the new fire season. “It’s still fairly green,” she said after monitoring vegetation for moisture Thursday. “But things are starting to dry out, so we’re expecting in the next couple of weeks of having fires – definitely by Memorial Day.” The Forest Service sign along Interstate 5 in the Grapevine indicated a “moderate” level of fire danger, Morgan said. In anticipation, federal firefighters are completing this week their annual 80-hour brush fire training. “They go over all of the basics, fire behavior, weather, safety, do drills for getting in and out of the fire shelter,” Morgan said. “It’s to refresh their memory and to get them into the swing of things.” Some may even get a shot at the fire lines – Morgan said they’re on call to assist Forest Service firefighters battling some of the 103 fires in Florida that have burned close to 25,000 acres. Still, Bill Hoffer, a National Weather Service spokesman based in Oxnard, wouldn’t completely rule out another wet spell. If low pressure air from Northern California descends into Southern California and mixes with the high pressure coastal air, rain could return one more time before summer. “It’s near the end, but we could get more,” he said. [email protected] (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – Sunshine and 90-degree heat are quickly drying the grasses that sprouted during winter and early spring, putting firefighters on alert in a valley where nothing has burned for two summers. “We’re getting into some warmer temperature and warm conditions,” said Ron Haralson, a Los Angeles County Fire Department inspector. “Brush fires are always a potential here in Southern California.” As a damp cool spring gives way to summer-like weather, Santa Clarita Valley temperatures rose from the 70s on Tuesday to over 90 Wednesday and near 90 Thursday. On Wednesday, county firefighters quickly doused a blaze that scorched less than a half acre near Gorman. Haralson said county crews have stepped-up fire preparedness – from monitoring to brush clearing. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals“There are some concerns,” Haralson said. “We are in the month of our brush clearance.” Los Angeles has received about 12.34 inches of rain since the season began July 1 – about 2.53 inches short of the annual average and a far cry from the record 37.25 inches last year, according to the National Weather Service. Northern Los Angeles County and the Angeles National Forest haven’t seen a major conflagration since July 2004, when wind-driven fires scorched an estimated 34,000 acres. Cid Morgan, the U.S. Forest Service ranger in the Angeles’ Santa Clara/Mojave Rivers district, said forest crews have begun preparing for the new fire season. “It’s still fairly green,” she said after monitoring vegetation for moisture Thursday. “But things are starting to dry out, so we’re expecting in the next couple of weeks of having fires – definitely by Memorial Day.” The Forest Service sign along Interstate 5 in the Grapevine indicated a “moderate” level of fire danger, Morgan said. In anticipation, federal firefighters are completing this week their annual 80-hour brush fire training. “They go over all of the basics, fire behavior, weather, safety, do drills for getting in and out of the fire shelter,” Morgan said. “It’s to refresh their memory and to get them into the swing of things.” Some may even get a shot at the fire lines – Morgan said they’re on call to assist Forest Service firefighters battling some of the 103 fires in Florida that have burned close to 25,000 acres. Still, Bill Hoffer, a National Weather Service spokesman based in Oxnard, wouldn’t completely rule out another wet spell. If low pressure air from Northern California descends into Southern California and mixes with the high pressure coastal air, rain could return one more time before summer. “It’s near the end, but we could get more,” he said. [email protected] (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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