CAL FIRE ISSUES PLEA FOR PREPAREDNESS
Below are two postings from the CAL FIRE website regarding the heightened fire danger in the vast California brush and forest areas.
CAL FIRE STRESSES PREPAREDNESS DUE TO LACK OF RAIN
Fire Activity up Over 45 Percent
An early increase in fire activity has CAL FIRE looking at the lack of rainfall as an indicator of a potentially higher fire threat this summer. Since the beginning of the year, CAL FIRE has responded to over 680 wildfires, which is more than 200 over the average for this time of year.
“Our firefighters have responded to an increased number of wildfires due to the very little rainfall we have received over the past few months,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “Last week in Southern California we increased our staffing and moved our airtankers to their bases, which was needed as we saw several large wildfires over the weekend.”
In late March, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted this year’s next-to-last snow survey and the low levels have CAL FIRE concerned about the impact to this year’s fire season. This final survey found that snowpack is just 52 percent of average statewide, according to the Department of Water Resources. Due to the low rainfall levels across the state from January to April, this year is likely to go down as one of the driest ever.
The lack of winter rains has resulted in dry conditions across the state leading to a number of unseasonably large wildfires that have already threatened people, homes and the state’s watershed. Over the past few months CAL FIRE crews responded to an increased number of large wildfires including the 296 acre Becks Fire in Lake County, the River Fire in Inyo County which grew to 406 acres and most recently, the 311 acre Jurupa Fire in Riverside County.
“In many other areas of the state we are in the process of training our seasonal firefighters and monitoring weather conditions closely to determine our staffing levels,” said Chief Pimlott. “While we are busy transitioning into fire season, this is the time we want residents to begin preparing their homes for fire season by creating 100 feet of Defensible Space.”
CAL FIRE is asking Californians to prepare for wildfires by taking these actions:
- Maintain 100 feet of Defensible Space
- Remove all dead plants, grass, and weeds from within 30 feet of your home
- Trim trees 6 feet from the ground
- Remove all leaves, pine needles and debris from roofs
- Create an Evacuation Plan in case of a wildfire
CAL FIRE Increases Staffing in Southern California as Fire Danger Rises
HOMEOWNERS ASKED TO PREPARE FOR WILDFIRES
Following an extremely dry winter, CAL FIRE has increased its staffing in Southern California for fire season. Starting Monday, April 15, CAL FIRE began transitioning into fire season in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Over the past month, CAL FIRE has been hiring and training seasonal firefighters to augment its full-time firefighters and will now staff most of the department’s seasonal fire stations around the clock, along with several water dropping helicopters. Unless weather conditions drastically change, CAL FIRE will begin staffing its airtankers in Southern California on April 22.
In late March, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted their monthly snow survey and the low levels have CAL FIRE concerned about the impact to this year’s fire season. The lack of rain from January to March across the state is likely to go down as the driest ever in Northern Sierra Nevada with only five and half inches of rain since January 1.
With fire season now officially underway in Southern California, CAL FIRE is asking homeowners to ensure that they are prepared for wildfires and that every home has 100 feet of Defensible Space.
Here are some tips to help prepare your home for fire season:
· Maintain 100 feet of Defensible Space
· Clear all needles and leaves from roofs, eaves and rain gutters.
· Trim branches six feet from the ground.
· Use trimming, mowing and power equipment before 10 a.m. Landscape with fire resistant plants.
· Use fire resistant building materials on your home.
For more information on preparing for wildfires and defensible space www.ReadyForWildfire.org.
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