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Officials issue fire warning

Extra firefighters called into the SCV; temperatures to rise throughout week

Posted: July 9, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: July 9, 2012 1:30 a.m.
 

 A red flag warning issued Sunday morning in response to rising temperatures, gusty winds and falling humidity levels prompted local fire officials to prepare for the worst, fire officials reported.

At least five additional Los Angeles County Fire Department crews from across the county were called to Fire Station 126 on Citrus Street in Valencia in response to the countywide fire threat warning issued at 10 a.m. Sunday.

The warning was issued for the mountain areas surrounding Los Angeles County after officials at the National Weather Service forecast triple-digit temperatures and plummeting humidity levels.

By noon, out-of-town fire trucks assigned to Strike Team No. 1109 began arriving from Cerritos, Bellflower and La Habra.

About 3 p.m., they received news of a fire in the wooded area of Bouquet Canyon Road and Texas Canyon Road.

Fire crews assigned to the Angeles National Forest — also on heightened alert — jumped on the fire quickly, which turned out to be a burning fire vehicle, a county fire official confirmed.

And although the Strike Team units were not required for that fire, 1.3 miles north of Vasquez Canyon Road, they were ready.

“The concern we have is that with higher temperatures and lower humidity we get a higher potential for fires,” said Capt. Randy Gee of Fire Station 126.

“In order to get on fires quickly, we make sure we have enough resources to the get the job done,” he said. “It’s better to be proactive than reactive.”

Yet, despite the intensified threat of fires sparked by drying brush, a significant number of “irresponsible” civilians in the Santa Clarita Valley have not received the department’s message about fire safety.

On Sunday morning, a father hiking north of Castaic Lake with his son called Parks Bureau deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after finding smoldering remains of a bonfire.

Deputies reported that whoever lit the fire left it burning throughout the night.

“People just need to keep safety in mind,” Gee said. “If they’re not going to be responsible and something happens, then they’re going to be held responsible.

“There could be criminal actions taken,” he said.

Weather officials, meanwhile, are calling for fire potential conditions to intensify throughout the week.

“With the red flag warning, criteria indicating a fire threat was there,” David Sweet, meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said Sunday. “In this case, we had gusts of winds and a very low humidity.

“And, we’re expecting temperatures to warm up even more this week,” he said. “Because of a high pressure that will be building in the east, temperatures will rise into Tuesday.”

Temperatures for the Santa Clarita Valley are expected to reach into the triple digits by Tuesday.

“It’s going to get pretty warm and toasty out there,” he said.

jholt@the-signal.com

661-287-5527

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