Firefighter battling blaze
Fire that were ignited by lightning from dry thunderstorms across Northern and Central California over the past week have killed at least six people and destroyed some 700 homes and other structures. All told nearly one million acres have been blackened, according to Cal Fire. Photo via Instagram @CalFire.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell and Councilman Chris Cate Wednesday to urge residents to stay on high alert, get prepared and stay informed, citing the historic lightning-sparked fires raging in northern California in stressing the need to be vigilant.

“The fire season is now year-round in California, so we’ve made significant investments in recent years to make sure San Diego is ready when the next big fire hits,” Faulconer said. “Our residents can be confident that our firefighters have state-of-the-art equipment available to save lives and protect property. We all remember the devastating fires of 2003 and 2007 and we’re asking every San Diegan to do their part by making sure they are prepared in case of an emergency.”

Faulconer partnered with the City Council to direct investments in new firefighting equipment.

Recent investments include:

— eight additional fire engines specifically designed to help extinguish fires in high density areas;

— two additional brush engines specifically designed to assist in fighting wildfires by transporting firefighters to the scene and providing them with quick access to the fire, along with water and other necessary equipment;

— a Firehawk helicopter capable of night-flying and dousing fires with 1,000 gallons of water at a time, including improved safety features to help the crew get closer to the fires in order to help extinguish them quicker; and

— investment of $13.7 million to build a storage facility to protect helicopters from rust, corrosion and help ensure longevity.

“San Diegans can rest assured that while our firefighters are deployed to help with major fires around California, all of the city’s fire stations are still fully staffed,” Stowell said. “We hope residents will follow recommendations to create and practice an emergency plan so that they can be ready in the event of a wildfire here at home.”

In recent years, hundreds of fires have broken out in canyons, parks and open spaces throughout San Diego. Last year, fires broke out near San Diego State University, San Ysidro High School, Kensington, Talmadge areas and the U.S.-Mexico border.

“As San Diegans, we must all do our part. In my district, I have Penasquitos Canyon in the north, and Tecolote Canyon in the south, with acres of open spaces in between,” Cate said. “Make sure you have defensible space around your property, and please check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. And lastly, if you see something, say something.”

–City News Service