Covering the fight against California's wildfires

Firefighters Beef Up Staffing Amid Red Flag Fire Warnings

By The Associated Press
|  Sunday, Sep 29, 2013  |  Updated 7:38 AM PDT
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Brush Fires Burn Along I-8 in East County

Vernon Budinger

The Madre fire began Monday Sept. 22, 2013 in the hills above Azusa. Firefighters increased staffing levels amid dry winds and a "red flag" fire warning on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013.

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Southern California fire officials increased staffing levels Saturday because of red flag warnings announced for areas in Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Full Coverage: California Wildfires

Weather Forecast

The National Weather Service issued the warnings in response to very dry conditions and forecasts for gusty winds and low humidity. There is no red flag warning in Los Angeles County.

Even so, Los Angeles County Fire's Kyle Sanford said the department has stepped up staffing and has engines in designated areas because of expected gusty winds.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has up to 100 extra personnel deploying because of an increased level of fire weather danger, especially in neighboring areas outside the city's limits, spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

Firefighters, already facing tinder dry conditions, are preparing for the peak of fire season, which is expected to arrive in a few weeks with the onset of the notorious Santa Ana winds.

The "Santa Anas," as they're known, are caused by high pressure over the West that sends a clockwise flow of dry, warm air rushing down into the region.

"This weekend will be our last chance to prepare for this seasonal nemesis, so we're encouraging those in wildfire prone areas to survey their home and property and discuss preparedness plans," Humphrey said.

The red flag warnings remain in effect through 6 p.m.

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