SoCal firefighters fear disaster ahead as heat transforms landscape

Local news
U.S. Forest Service firefighter Nick Browne deploys a fire hose pack during training in Castaic. Crews in the bone-dry forest must aim for 100% mop-up, meaning they must extinguish every ember. “There are no shortcuts here,” he said.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

U.S. Forest Service firefighter Nick Browne deploys a fire hose pack during training in Castaic. Crews in the bone-dry forest must aim for 100% mop-up, meaning they must extinguish every ember. “There are no shortcuts here,” he said.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

At Oak Flat Fire Station in the Angeles National Forest, veteran firefighters are already getting a bad feeling about this year.

There has been so little rain, and rising temperatures caused by climate change have made the landscape drier than they’ve ever seen — ready to combust with the smallest spark.

They’ve watched the rugged mountains of the forest around the Castaic station change before their eyes, from a place of seasons to a place that seems like it is in perpetual summer. And with homes encroaching farther into the terrain each year, there are more people in harm’s way.

The firefighters’ readiness and anxiety now hang in the air, as thick as the dead, dry brush clinging to the surrounding hillsides.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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