San Diego Fire-Rescue brush engines. Courtesy of the department

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department increased its staffing on Friday morning in anticipation of hot, dry fire weather.

The National Weather Service office in San Diego issued an excessive-heat warning for San Diego County from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday with temperatures projected to reach as high as 115 degrees in the deserts and 92 near the coast.

“Increasing staffing and apparatus allow us to deploy additional resources in an effort to keep fires small,” said Interim Fire Chief Kevin Ester. “I strongly encourage residents to do all they can in advance for what we believe will be a very busy summer of fires.”

The department said five brush engines and two water tenders will be staffed on Friday for 12 hours beginning at 8 a.m. On Saturday and Sunday five brush engines and one water tender will be staffed for 12 hours each day.

Brush engines are large, off-road capable trucks which carry more than 500 gallons of water and are staffed by a crew of four firefighters each. Water tenders carry 3,000 gallons of extra water and are staffed by one firefighter.

Officials note that several years of drought creates significant fuel in the form of underbrush and grass. This fuel, combined with hot temperatures, high winds and low humidity, create conditions which are conducive to easily ignited and fast burning wildfires.

A cooling trend is expected to begin Saturday and slowly cause temperatures to drop heading into next week.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.