'We know it's coming': LA County preparing for peak fire season with arrival of Super Scooper planes

VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As the massive Caldor Fire explodes near Lake Tahoe, Southern California is bracing for a potentially dangerous fire season.

"Firefighters are exhausted, but they know what's in store," said U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Lisa Cox, who said we're just now entering the time of year when Southern California's fires are typically at their worst.

"We're going to continue to see below normal rainfall and above normal temperatures this fall and winter, so we know it's coming."

More than 22,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate due to the Caldor Fire. This effectively jammed many of the roads and highways out of the area.

The fire has already burned more than 277 square miles, and containment dropped from 19% to 14% overnight. At least 600 structures have burned, and more than 20,000 are still threatened.

It's one of more than a dozen large wildfires burning in California right now. More than 15,000 firefighters are assigned to the blazes up and down the state.

Meanwhile, help is on the way locally. On Monday, two Super Scooper planes contracted by Los Angeles County landed at Van Nuys Airport. The massive planes are capable of carrying 1,600 gallons of water at a time.

Firefighters are making progress on several fires in San Bernardino County. Evacuations are lifted in Lytle Creek as they continue to mop up the South Fire, and there's no visible smoke or flames in the Cajon Pass where the Railroad Fire forced the closure of Interstate 15 on Sunday.

The Chaparal Fire burning in Riverside County southwest of Murrieta is only 13% contained. It has burned more than 1,400 acres and evacuation orders are still in place.

"We've had above normal monsoonal flow in the San Bernardino National Forest, so that's moderated the way our fuel moistures are, so that's good," said Cox. "But it ebbs and flows constantly depending on all these drying wind events which we're having right now."

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