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With Triple Digit Temps On The Way Experts Warn Of Severe Fire Danger

DUARTE (CBSLA) - With extreme heat on the way and reminders of the Bobcat Fire in view on the horizon, residents in the San Gabriel Valley are on high alert, keeping a vigilant eye on the forecast and the dry brush that covers the land and mountains around them.

"Every time this season, we're kind of scared because of fires...especially I just saw someone smoking a over there and that came to my mind it might start a fire here," Eusebio Orellana, a Duarte resident.

United States drought maps are a crimson and burgundy red alert, with 85% of the state in what's considered extreme drought conditions. That, combined with triple digit temperatures expected soon, is likely to put residents and fire officials on edge.

"We're looking at a difficult year," Inspector Sean Ferguson, of the LA County Fire Department, said.

Ferguson mentioned the West Fire that started in Lancaster Friday. It was first sparked when a motorcycle and car collided, and then winds fueled the fire to 700 acres.

"To put that in perspective," Ferguson said, "that's about the size of Hermosa Beach.

Just Saturday morning, a car crash led to flames off State Route 261 in Irvine, which didn't cause as big of a brusher, but according to Captain Richard Cordova of Cal-Fire, was at least a good exercise for fire crews.

"Getting on the fire line again so when we get the these bigger fires, we're ready to go. There's just tons of dead fuel out there," Cordova said.

Experts said that residents should do a refresher on how to prevent fires since they say most are caused by humans, whether by arson or accident.

"Something as easy pulling trailer a and having that trailer chain dragging along the concrete sending sparks along the brush. Maybe you have car trouble, you pull over into tall grass. It's important to know the underside of your car, especially on a hot summer day is extremely hot. We've seen a number of fires start by something as simple as that," Ferguson said.

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