Firefighters Prepare for Early Season

As the western United States recovers from one of the worst wildfire seasons in history, California and surrounding states are gearing up for another record-breaker.

Stuck in a six-year drought and blistered by an exceptionally hot spring, the brush, grass, and the timber are tinder-dry.

"It is going to be one of our worst fire seasons, probably because we haven't had that much moisture," Jim Hall, assistant fire chief of Angeles National Forest (search), said.

The U.S. Forest Service (search) has hired 600 new firefighters. And to help prepare for fire season they're doing what's called "cutting line" or "building a line around a fire" — taking out the heavy brush, right down to the soil so fire can't cross the line.

When the brush is very dry, as it is now, crews will fight fire with fire, torching grasses ahead of approaching flames to rob them of fuel.

These are all techniques firefighters will use this season but for now the forecast is bleak — continuous hot and dry weather has firefighters hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

Go to the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by Fox News' William La Jeunesse.