LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA.com) — With last summer’s brush fires fresh in memory, residents in the Inland Empire are worried about a repeat in 2014, due to rising Spring temperatures.
New vegetation has grown on the foothills, across from Lake Elsinore, that had been reduced to ash in the summer of 2013, and residents and officials alike are hoping the new plant life will not catch fire, despite the gaining heat.
Residents are now fighting to clear the areas around their homes before they find their properties at risk once more.
“If (the hillside) got a little wilder, I’d knock it down, just so that it wouldn’t give something fuel to get a little bit wilder,” Lake Elsinore resident Jeff Morris said.
The fire that ignited in the foothills of Lake Elsinore in 2013 gained quick momentum, and a number of homes were threatened quickly. However, firefighters responded swiftly, and hit the fire with everything they had, including their DC-10 dropper-jet.
The quick effort proved pivotal in defeating the fire before it could spread further into properties.
Local fire departments, meanwhile, have boosted their strength early in the season, to be ready for the worst.
“We’ve already increased our staffing for a normal, summer-like time condition,” Cal Fire Riverside Captain Bret Cerini said. “That’s already been accomplished, so we already have people on duty at all of our fire stations, staffing all of our fire engines.”
Capt. Cerini advises residents in fire-prone areas to take a number of steps to help prepare themselves.
- Clear the first 30 feet around your home liberally.
- Chop down and thin out the area around your home of 30-100 or 200 feet.
Firefighters say that the area is at about 30% of its normal precipitation, due to the state’s historic drought, which is also increasing worry and anticipation.