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Danger Ahead: Fire Season Is Not Over Yet

Fire season in the Sierra foothills – and even at higher elevations – is not over just yet.

Because of dry conditions, pile burning restrictions remain in effect throughout Yosemite National Park, according to a news release from Yosemite Fire Marshall Don Coffman.

“Park firefighters continue to respond to escaped campfires, discarded cigarettes or hot ashes from careless smokers, and other kinds of human-caused fires,” Coffman said.Dead and downed fuels are still very dry and are very combustible. The accumulation of fallen leaves and pine needles make the park prone to fires during this extremely dry year.

“A preventable fire recently occurred when a dog mat was placed carelessly over a floor heater. A 911 call to dispatch, a quick response and extinguishment by Wawona firefighters prevented a loss of a cabin,” Coffman reported.

He warns that having to respond to these kinds of fires “can commit fire crews for the entire day. All residents, visitors, and guests need to remember it is your responsibility to maintain a fire safe environment.”

All area residents with fire chimneys are advised to get them inspected and cleaned this time of year, since soot from last winter’s fires may have restricted the air flow.

Every chimney should have a non-combustible screen with a half-inch or smaller mesh, Coffman advises. This prevents hot embers from igniting combustible roofs and dry vegetation. Cleaning dead leaves off roofs and out of rain gutters and chimneys is a good fire-safety precaution in the fall.

“Fire defensible space should continue to be on the minds of everyone living in Wildland Urban Interface communities,” Coffman said. “In the fire-prone ecosystems of Yosemite National Park, it is not always ‘if’ wildfires will occur, but a matter of ‘where’ and ‘when.'”

Fire-safe clearance around structures is 100 feet.

For more information on wildland fire safety, or to report concerns, visit the National Interagency Fire Center at www.nifc.gov or Cal Fire at www.fire.ca.gov, or contact Don Coffman 209-379-1444 or Jack Alviso 209-375-9541 with specific Yosemite community property fire questions.

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Sierra News Online

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