Arid Socal winds put officials on alert

Local fire departments are preparing to send round two of firefighting aid to Southern California as meteorologists forecast that another helping of dry, fire-sparking winds will hit the area.

South San Francisco Battalion Chief Tom Azzopardi said the department is definitely anticipating sending another engine company to the devastated region after the call came down from the San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services/Homeland Security late last week notifying officials of the possible need.

In last month’s fires, stoked by the infamous Santa Ana winds, which were unusually powerful this year, the county OES had approximately three so-called strike teams, consisting of nearly 100 people each, in Southern California. The personnel came from almost every department in San Mateo County, Azzopardi said.

This time around, South San Francisco is again prepared to send another engine, which comprises four people.

“It got crazy — real bad, real fast,” Azzopardi said. “They only got a break when the weather got better.”

With the foresight this time from lessons learned, Azzopardi said the early preparedness of firefighters from all over the state would likely better ward off another blanket of fires.

Officials in Southern California began deploying firefighting crews and equipment Sunday as meteorologists predicted a return of the dry winds that stoked last month’s devastating brush blazes.

Officials in Orange County are already moving many of their own personnel into position to provide immediate response to brush fires, according to Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chief Kris

Concepcion.

The National Weather Service predicted gusts of up to 60 miles per hour in the more mountainous areas of Southern California beginning late Tuesday, meteorologist Jamie Meier said. Temperatures are not expected to reach last month’s highs.

tramroop@examiner.com  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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