The Silverado Fire in Orange County should serve as a reminder of things to come. A weak high-pressure system had driven temperatures up and humidity levels down, which are indicators fall is upon us. This fire grew from hundreds of acres to over a thousand in a very short amount of time. Fortunately we did not have the fierce Santa Ana winds driving this fire or we’d likely be working this fire to the ocean.
Expect Santa Ana winds over the next few months. Though Santa Ana’s are typical for this time of year, combined with drought conditions we will certainly experience significant fires with rapid rate of spread and with significant fire loss. Fuel moisture levels are down to zero throughout the West.
Firefighters are true professionals and know what to do. However, we could soon see multiple fires burning in Southern California being pushed by strong, hot dry winds into communities over the next few months. This will tax our resources and firefighters. Hillside homeowners need to do their part and have already followed fire department brush compliance and be prepared.
If you think brush fires impact hillside residents only? Think again! Personnel are dispatched from all over under the California master mutual aid program. Some fire stations not in the foothill areas will be called in to assist and may be temporarily empty until personnel are recalled to staff stations. Poor air quality from smoke also creates health concerns for everyone.
Sam DiGiovanna, Aliso Viejo
Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna works for a firefighter training academy in Verdugo Hills.