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Wildfire Evacuation Orders Lifted, California Governor Preparing for Worst

Wildfire Evacuation Orders Lifted, California Governor Preparing for Worst

The governor of California warned Sunday that the state was preparing for what could be one of the worst wildfire seasons.

The announcement came as evacuation orders were lifted after about a dozen blazes came through Southern California last week.

“We’re getting ready for the worst,” Gov. Jerry Brown said. “Now, we don’t want to anticipate before we know, but we need a full complement of firefighting capacity.”

The state has 5,000 firefighters and about $600 million earmarked for firefighting.

Last week’s fires in San Diego County were started by a spark from construction equipment. The fires were exacerbated by hot weather, low humidity and gusty winds. The fires have caused more than $20 million in damage, destroying nearly 50 houses, an apartment complex and three businesses, according to reports.

So far the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has responded to about 1,500 fires this year. On average, the department responds to about 800 a year.

"And in the years to come, we're going to have to make very expensive investments and adjust," Brown said. "And the people are going to have to be careful of how they live, how they build their homes and what kind of vegetation is allowed to grow around them."

Publication date: May 19, 2014