AZUSA ( — Residents in Azusa and Glendora whose homes were spared in the Colby Fire were urged Tuesday to prepare for what some officials fear could be a record wildfire season.

KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports the 1,900-acre blaze forced 3,700 residents to evacuate in January at the fire’s peak.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones joined Los Angeles County Fire officials in front of homes along North Ridgeview Drive – one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in the Colby Fire – to remind residents to not let their guard down as California enters a third year of drought.

Homeowners were urged to complete a home inventory and use “home hardening” products like new stucco construction and other improvements to make their property more fire-resistant.

“The stucco in the house is a huge expense, but putting up the screens around vents and openings…making sure your house has good, fresh paint on it,” said CAL FIRE Chief Glenn Barley. “Those are all things that can be done.”

Resident Dennis Sanderson, who lives very close to one Azusa hill that burned in the fire, said his house was unharmed largely due to the stucco construction on his home.

“The first spot fire that came over the ridge, that was pretty scary,” Sanderson said.

The roughly 3-square-mile Colby Fire destroyed six homes and 10 outbuildings after starting Jan. 16 in the Angeles National Forest, where flames spread quickly when Santa Ana winds hit a campfire that authorities said was recklessly set by three men.

Clifford Henry Jr., Steven Aguirre, and Jonathan Jarrell were arrested in January and are each charged with setting fire to timber, grass and/or underbrush in the Angeles National Forest by building a campfire, violating a fire restriction order, and causing and failing to maintain control of the fire.

Opening statements in the trial of Henry and Aguirre were scheduled to begin Tuesday afternoon. Jarrell is set to face trial separately later this month.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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