Wildfire Awareness Week
updated: May 06, 2014, 8:20 AM
Source: Office of Emergency Management
Community: Cal OES announces Wildfire Awareness Week.
It is dry in the foothills and southern California as during a typical July or August, the peak of the fire
season. Even in a region used to wildfires, this year appears poised to be especially destructive. California is
facing its third dry year; thirsty grasses, parched brush and trees are more susceptible to burn, so fuel is
Today, fire and state emergency managers gathered at CAL FIRE's Aviation Management Unit located at
McClellan Air Force Base to kick off Wildfire Awareness Week with the goal of raising public awareness of
wildfires and promoting actions that reduce the risk to homes and communities.
"The historic drought that is upon us makes Wildfire Preparedness more critical than ever,' said Cal OES
Director Mark Ghilarducci. "There's a very high likelihood of well-above-normal fires and perhaps a chance
of longer-lasting fires, which require more resources in order to fight them."
So far this year, California has already experienced more wildfire activity than normal. As of April 26th, the
state has recorded more than 1,100 fires; that's more than double the average of the previous five years.
Even before this year's drought, forest officials were reporting a longer fire season and more catastrophic
mega-fires in California and other western states. More than half of California's worst fires in recorded
history have occurred since 2002.
"The job that the first responders have is difficult," said State Fire and Rescue Chief Kim Zagaris. "Our
agency, along with CAL FIRE as well as local and federal agencies, has taken proactive measures to prepare
for intense wildfires this year with exceptional amounts of dry fuel, but it's also important that individuals
prepare, we expect individuals to do their part."
As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans. Some human-caused
fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarettes and
intentional acts of arson.
Some people might think that there isn't much they can do to protect from a wildfire, but there are many
things that you can do now to become more fire adapted.
Find out what you and your community should expect during a response.
Conduct a risk assessment on your property with your local fire department.
Create a plan to address issues in your property's Defensible Space Zone, including: maintaining a
noncombustible area around the perimeter of your home; managing vegetation along fences; clearing
debris from decks and patios, eaves, and porches; selecting proper landscaping and plants; knowing the
local ecology and fire history; moving radiant heat sources away from the home (i.e., wood piles, fuel
tanks, sheds);thinning trees and ladder fuels around the home;
Develop a personal and family preparedness plan.
Support land management agencies by learning about wildfire risk reduction efforts, such as using
prescribed fire to manage local landscapes.
Contact the local planning/zoning office to find out if your home is in a high wildfire risk area and if there
are specific local or county ordinances you should be following.
If you have a homeowner association, work with them to identify regulations that incorporate proven
preparedness landscaping, home design, and building material such as the recommendations from Living
with Fire for the Lake Tahoe Basin.
For more information and resources for Wildfire protection visit:
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