Wildfires blackening the outskirts of Los Angeles have renewed talks by San Diego city officials about their own preparations since the deadly 2007 fires.

The mayor and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department held a press conference this afternoon to tell the public that the city is “more prepared than ever” for the event of a large fire.

Mayor Jerry Sanders pointed to the city purchasing a second firefighting helicopter, increased brush management and additional reserve fire engines. Asst. Fire Chief Javier Mainar said the department has also added specialized wildfire training for department staff and updated its emergency response plan.

“There is no fire department in the world that has the resources to protect every house, every neighborhood from the kinds of fires we’re seeing in Los Angeles, and the kinds of fires our community experienced in 2003 and 2007,” Mainar said. “When the next fire hits, and one will hit, it won’t be enough without your help.”

Fire officials recommended people take the usual safety steps and be extra cautious during the fall, when San Diego is most susceptible to the dry and gusty Santa Ana winds.

The city’s statement of preparedness comes at a time when San Diego Gas & Electric is waiting to hear from the state’s utility commission about the proposed shut-off plan. It would allow the utility to turn off power to some areas of the county when that area has high fire risk weather conditions. A decision on the shut-off plan is scheduled to be announced next week.


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