‘Above Average’ Fire Potential Threatens San Diego County – NBC 7 San Diego

There is drought, there is heat, and soon there will also be the Santa Ana winds.

“It’s the critical time of year for us, September, October, November, December,” Cal Fire Captain Thomas Shoots said. “[We have a] Above average potential for a large devastating wildfire.

Capt. Shoots spoke to NBC 7 outside the new Fire Station 79 atop Palomar Mountain.

“It’s tough being on top of a mountain where it will take a while to get resources,” Shoots said.

He said that’s why San Diego County and the state have invested millions to protect against wildfires.

“You need to have that answer very quickly,” he said as he walked towards the new fire station.

The new station replaced a decades-old cabin that served as a fire station until this year. Shoots said the new station is much more comfortable for firefighters who stay on top of the mountain for weeks. It is also better equipped to allow faster response times for firefighters.

“This mountain could certainly burn. There’s a lot of brush, a lot of grass and trees that will burn,” he explained.

“It’s an ongoing concern,” said Francisco Valdovinos, general manager of Palomar Mountain’s general store. “We’ve had a short streak of hot days and we’re just a little too hot.”

Valdovinos said he appreciates the investment made to protect Palomar Mountain. Shoots said it was just one of the latest physical additions to the Cal Fire/San Diego County fire force.

“Just recently, Fox Fire Center is going to be our crew center,” Shoots said, pointing down the mountain.

“Mount Laguna has a new station,” he added. “We have a new station building there at Otay Mesa.”

This adds to a record number of Cal Fire employees on staff as San Diego County enters this critical time of year.

“They (residents) deserve the best care and we strive to provide it to them,” concluded Shoots.

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