As everyone prepares for the approaching summer, firefighters are preparing in their own way. This first week of May marks ‘Wildfire Awareness Week’ in California, when fire departments remind homeowners of the dangers of wildfires, and also bring on thousands of seasonal firefighting employees as part of their preparation for wildfire season. Firefighters in California begin inspecting homes for adherence to defensible space regulations, while thoroughly inspecting their fire equipment, and conducting daily readiness drills at fire stations, helitack bases, and air tanker bases.
The winter El Niño event brought much needed moisture to the Bay area and northern California, but had little effect on the Southern California drought index, leaving fire researchers calling for another high potential fire season in 2016. In the latest fire season outlook (released May 1), a few western states are also bracing for highly active and well-above-normal fire season conditions due to climate factors and fuel moisture conditions.
This week marks the annual occasion for fire departments statewide to remind citizens, before fire season has fully kicked in, that everyone can do their part to prevent wildfire ignitions and help make homes and neighborhoods safer. Outreach programs such as these also educate homeowners on the concept of “defensible space”, the idea that creating and maintaining 100 feet of intelligent brush clearance greatly increases a home’s chance of surviving a wildfire.
For information on how to prepare your home please see http://www.readyforwildfire.org/.