Public Park Agency Steps Up Wildfire Patrols

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - With hot Santa Ana winds blowing over Southern California elevating fire danger, a public park agency has stepped up patrols watching for flames and the people who set them.

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority has assigned enough park rangers to patrol 24 hours-a-day the 72,000 acres of public parkland it manages in the Mulholland Corridor from Griffith Park west to Calabasas, Chief Ranger Fernando Gomez said.

The increased patrols will continue as long as there is a Red Flag Warning, which at this point is forecast to last through Wednesday.

``Our mission during high fire danger days is to provide high visibility patrols day and night, contact people illegally smoking and assist our allied agencies during an emergency event,'' Gomez said.

Rangers patrol seven days a week during the high fire risk month of October. They assist the sheriff's Arson Watch with prevention efforts in the Topanga, Calabasas, Agoura Hills and Malibu areas.

The record rains of the past season helped cover the Santa Monica Mountains with dry grasses that pose a volatile fire risk, he said. ``We need all residents to be alert to suspicious activities, particularly in the Mulholland Scenic Overlooks and open space areas.''

Anyone who sees suspicious activity in the MRCA's area is asked to call (310) 456-7049 or 911.

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