GLENDORA (CBSLA.com) — Predicted Santa Ana winds coupled with California’s ongoing drought were forcing some foothill residents to keep a close eye on their homes on Wednesday night.
“It crept up on us pretty fast,” said Glendora resident Steve Vance, who remembers how the Colby fire devastated his community in January of last year. It burned 1,900 acres and destroyed five homes.
The fire was fanned by strong Santa Ana winds, which are expected to kick up once again by the end of the week during what authorities fear could be one of the worst fire seasons yet.
“Burned right to our property. The trees about 100 feet away torched off,” Vance recalls of the 2014 fire.
“It flared and just took off,” said Thomas Merrill, a Glendora resident, who said the Colby fire ate up much of the vegetation.
But, he says, the Santa Ana winds are still a concern.
To prepare for a busy fire season, the Los Angeles County Fire Department has leased two Canadian super scoopers to fight flames from the air.
Firefighters are ready for the winds that may fuel blazes and spread burning embers in foothill communities. They say the dry vegetation coupled with Santa Ana winds equals perfect conditions for a fast-moving fire.
“We’re all prepared as far as defensible space but you can’t fight a Santa Ana,” Vance said.
Authorities have asked residents to be extra cautious while camping or using outdoor machinery.