OAKLAND HILLS (KPIX) — The so-called La Tuna fire is one of the worst wildfires in the history of Los Angeles, scorching more than 5000 acres in just one day. It’s exactly the kind of scenario firefighters in the Oakland Hills are working hard to avoid this weekend.

Signs posted along the roads in the Oakland and Berkeley hills indicate “extreme fire danger.” Sweltering temperatures and dry brush are conditions ripe for fire. The hotter it gets, the more easy it gets for fuel to ignite. The danger is greatest in the Oakland Hills where overgrowth from winter rains could be catastrophic if a fire sparks.

Lt. Curtis Thompson says Oakland firefighters are bracing for the worst, patrolling the hills and searching the skies.

“We’re just looking for anything out of the ordinary, any sign of smoke, any sign of fire. The whole idea is really to take the necessary steps to fight the fire before the actual fire comes in,” he says.

That means along with patrols, conducting drill, after drill.

On Saturday, they were practicing deploying a powerful hose called a deck gun within 60 seconds.

“We’ll be able to get anywhere from 500 to 1250 gallons of water up and disperse and knock down a fire,” says Thompson.

Berkeley Fire Department has been doing the same patrols, but Chief Dave Brannigan says for the first time, they’re not just looking for fire.

“Also we want to make sure roads are clear so cars are not parked illegally blocking our access,” he says.

Back at Fire Station 28 in Oakland, firefighters have finished their patrol but there will be more as the heat wave persists.

“It’s days like this that really validate our efforts with our fire prevention our vegetation management inspections,” says Thompson.

Cooler evening temperatures are good, but firefighter say the winds are picking up, and that presents an entirely different set of problems.


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