San Bernardino County fire officials are bracing for havoc-wreaking Santa Ana winds and the potential for fast-spreading wildfires with a red flag warning system unveiled on Monday.
When residents see a red flag waving at fire stations, that means extreme fire conditions have increased.
The flag will also serve as a visual reminder to residents to visit the new Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index website to see how volatile conditions area and which areas are most affected.
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San Bernardino Duane Litzmann devastating memories are enough for him to take precautions.
"I was hoping it was a dream you know. It was awful, it was surreal," said Litzmann, whose home was leveled by a fire. "It was like a Niagara Falls of fire rushing through that house to just take everything away."
The height of fire season in San Bernardino County are the months of October and September, when Santa Ana winds hit the region the hardest, officials said.
"That awareness is huge, not only in the sense of calling 911 and getting the first responders there as quickly as possible, but also identifying who those folks are that are causing those fire throughout Southern California," said Capt. Mark Murphy.
Officials said the warning system would work in conjunction with the National Weather Service fire weather warning system.
"You don't realize once it starts going how fast it can come down and kill you," San Bernardino resident Pam Lankarani said.