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Cal Fire Transitions into Winter Preparedness, Reduces Staffing

MARIPOSA – Cooler weather and recent rains have prompted the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit (MMU) to transition into winter staffing levels as of Monday, Dec. 17, at 8 a.m.

The transition to winter preparedness allows Cal Fire to release some seasonal firefighters, reduce staffing on fire engines and close certain wildland fire stations.

Cal Fire will continue to maintain staffing to meet any potential threat, as well as maintaining the ability to strategically move resources to areas that remain at a higher threat level.

Cal Fire will also continue to monitor weather conditions closely and will maintain the ability to increase staffing should weather conditions change or if there is a need to support wildfires or other emergencies in other areas of the state.

During the cooler winter months, they will continue to actively focus efforts on fire prevention and fuels treatment activities as guided by the State’s Strategic Fire Plan and localized Unit fire plans, say fire officials.

These efforts will be accomplished through public education, prescribed burns and various types of fuel reduction, all aimed at reducing the impacts of large, damaging wildfires and improving overall forest health.

In Mariposa County:

This transition allows open hazard reduction burning. Permits are not needed and burn piles are no longer limited to 4×4 piles.

In Madera County:

Burn permits are needed and all burn piles are required to be 4×4 or less.

In Merced County:

Ag burning only. No residential burning is allowed.

Property owners conducting hazard reduction burns are responsible for checking the burn day status by calling the local Air Pollution Control District prior to igniting your hazard reduction pile.

  • Madera County: 877-429-2876
  • Merced County: 877-429-2876
  • Mariposa County: 209-966-1200 or 209-966-2220

The 2018 fire season has been an extremely active year, even more so than in 2017. This year we have seen the deadliest, the most destructive, and the largest wildfires in California’s recorded history.

Statewide, Cal Fire and firefighters from many local agencies responded to over 6,228 wildfires within the State Responsibility Area that burned over 876,225 acres.

Cal Fire MMU would like to remind residents that creating and maintaining 100 feet of defensible space is essential for increasing your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It is the buffer that homeowners are required to create on their property between a structure and vegetation.

Fall and winter are the perfect times to create and maintain defensible space. When burning:

  • All flammable material and vegetation must be cleared within 10 feet of the outer edge of the burn pile.
  • Keep a water supply close to the burning site.
  • An adult must be in attendance with a shovel until the fire is out.
  • No burning shall be undertaken unless weather conditions (particularly wind) are such that burning can be considered safe.
  • NO household trash or garbage can be burned.

For more information please visit the Cal Fire website at www.fire.ca.gov and www.ReadyForWildfire.org.

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