SACRAMENTO – Once again California’s wet winter created a sizable crop of new grass growth, but don’t let the wet weather fool you as the abundant grass dries. It is fuel for wildfires.
Now is the time to act to prevent wildfires. Governor Gavin Newsom declared May 5-11 “Wildfire Preparedness Week” to urge homeowners that “California Wildfires Have Changed, Together We Must Adapt.”
Already this year, Cal Fire has responded to more than 470 wildfires that have burned over 1,180 acres, and officials say Californians need to accept fire as part of the natural landscape, understand the fire risk, and take action before a wildfire starts.
“We encourage residents to help safeguard their homes by using fire-safe construction materials, and to look for points of entry where embers could intrude into the home during a fire,” said Cal Fire in a statement released today. “Home and property safety preparation should include creating a defensible space by clearing vegetation 100-feet or more away from your home, and using fire resistant landscaping to help stop the spread of wildfire.”
“Our firefighters have been preparing non-stop for the inevitable fires that will happen this year. However, preparation involves all levels of the community, from first responders to the general public,” said Chief Thom Porter, Cal Fire Director.
“As was unfortunately witnessed with tremendous force this past year, wind-driven embers can destroy homes or neighborhoods far from the actual flame front of a wildfire. Taking the initiative to prepare your home and your community will be key in preventing the unfathomable damage that these intense wildfires can cause. It is up to us, the agencies that respond to the wildfires, and you, the homeowner, to create the strong network needed to endure through these devastating events.”
Persistent drought-like conditions, warmer temperatures and continued severe winds have created conditions that will lead to more frequent and catastrophic fires, say Cal Fire officials. “To meet this challenge, California must adopt an all-of-the-above approach in protecting the public and maintaining the health of our forests.”
Governor Newsom has directed Cal Fire to recommend immediate, medium and long-term actions to help prevent destructive wildfires. Cal Fire identified 35 priority fuel reduction projects that collectively cover 90,000 acres, and when complete will help protect over 200 of the state’s most wildfire-vulnerable communities.
Cal Fire’s “Ready for Wildfire” app is the perfect tool to use in year-round preparation. Checklists found on the Cal Fire app help homeowners prepare and maintain defensible space, harden homes with ignition-resistant building materials, and create family evacuation plans and kits. The app features customizable alerts to electronic devices when Cal Fire responds to a wildfire of 10 acres or more.