SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — Fire crews at stations throughout the Inland Empire will go on 24-hour stand-by mode Monday after rain totals in the region have done little to combat drought conditions.
CAL FIRE officials in Southern California and statewide announced a return to peak staffing levels in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, a move which also requires all equipment and facilities to be staffed around the clock, according to officials.
The announcement comes several months earlier than normal, with officials cited rising spring temperatures rise and dried-out conditions as two of the biggest factors in the adjustment.
Between January 1 and March 22, CAL FIRE responded to over 800 wildfires that have charred nearly 2,300 acres. In an average year for the same time period, CAL FIRE would typically respond to under 275 wildfires for approximately 1,000 acres, according to the agency.
“Even with rain in March, our fire activity has remained 200 percent more over average statewide,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “The rain has been great, but it has not been enough to make up for our dry winter and California’s drought.”
Homeowners are being urged to prepare for wildfires by maintaining 100 feet of defensible space around their property. For more information on preparing for wildfires and defensible space, visit ReadyForWildfire.org.