Worried about a very dry and dangerous fire season, Riverside authorities have already started looking for residents with inadequate brush clearance and handing out citations for residents without 30 feet of "defensible space" around their property. Tony Shin reports from Riverside for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 18, 2013.
Red Flag warnings were issued throughout Southern California Thursday as winds were expected to reach up to 55 mph.
Winds were particularly strong throughout the valley and mountain areas, where Cal Fire officials were knocking on residents’ doors to warn against high-risk areas for brush fires, which can spark as a result of high winds and low humidity.
"We’ve received in some places only 25 to 60 percent of the normal rain that we usually receive, so what that means is that the fuels are already really, really dry and then combine that with the wind and low humidity levels, we have prime burning conditions right now," Riverside County Fire Department Cpt. Bret Cerini said.
Cerini was among fire officials inspecting residents’ defensible space Thursday. Defensible space includes the area around a home or structure that is landscaped for the goal of minimizing vegetation that could fuel a brush fire.
Officials issued warning slips to homeowners, who were told to clear away at least 30 feet of defensible space around their property. If a homeowner does not comply, he or she could go to court, officials said.
Lack of rainfall, high temperatures and gusty winds can put residents at risk if homes are surrounded by dry or dead vegetation, high grass or other brush that could contribute to the spreading of a wildfire.
More information about brush fires and defensible space is available on Cal Fire’s website.
NBC4's Tony Shin contributed to this report.