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Local firefighters sent to Cerritos Fire; Red Flag Warning through Saturday

This California fire season has already been the largest in history with four million acres already burnt.

And it’s showing no signs of stopping.

Wildfires are currently ripping across Southern California and it’s only the beginning of a fairly strong Santa Ana wind event.

“Well, it’s pretty critical. Now we have four significant fires that have occurred in the last 48 hours and we haven’t really had the wind conditions that we’re expecting starting tomorrow,” said Captain Fernando Herrera of the Riverside County Fire Department.

Palm Springs and Mecca’s Fire Departments each have an engine assigned to battle the Cerritos Fire. This brush fire is burning in an unincorporated area near Hemet.

“It’s just kind of the nature of the beast. They come to help us when we need it and we help them when they need it,” said Captain Nathan Gunkel of the Palm Springs Fire Department.

And it’s not just those two engines that have been called on to help. Captain Herrera says that other engines from Eastern Riverside County now have to cover some of the Western stations that are inundated by the wildfires.

“We’re already pushed very, very thin. Our commitment is always to our city first… to our residents and our visitors. But we know we need to go out and help as much as we can. We’ve had several other requests to send single resources out, to go assist with these other large fires and we’re doing everything we can on our part to help out,” Captain Gunkel said.

The Red Flag Warning includes parts of our local area through Saturday.

“There’s a potential to have fires in the desert. Especially out toward the Southern Coachella Valley area,” Captain Herrera said.

“With the winds, we always have the high winds, the number one things we see out here in the valley and our little city here is trees blown over, power lines blown over. Edison’s already starting to shut off the power to a lot of residents across Southern California. There’s already many without, just preparing for it. They want to prevent the chance of having one of these large fires,” Captain Gunkel said.

Both fire captains urge residents to have a plan for possible evacuations and to take those evacuations seriously.

More information on how to prepare can be found on

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Taylor Begley

Taylor Begley is a Sports Anchor and Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. You can also catch her anchoring weather on the weekends. Learn more about Taylor here.


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