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Fire Off Jean West Is Cautionary Reminder

OAKHURST – Residents on Jean West Road were once again alerted to a fire in their area as engines headed to Taylor Mountain Road early this morning.

At 12:27 a.m., on Tuesday, June 10, firefighters responded to a fire burning in grass and brush piles at the very end of Taylor Mt. Road.

Five Cal Fire engines, two from the Sierra National Forest, two engines and one water tender from Madera County Fire Department, two hand crews from Mt. Bullion, one Air Attack, a helicopter, two Battalion Chiefs and a Prevention Officer were all dispatched to the scene.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze at less than an acre, and the cause is under investigation.

According to a neighbor, the property owner didn’t hear any cars before she smelled and saw the flames. She had recently had the property brushed and cleared, and it looked like it was the piles that were on fire.

This is the third fire in this area so far this season, and Cal Fire Prevention Officer Karen Guillemin is cautioning residents about the critical importance of clearing defensible space.

Taylor Mt Road- photo courtesy of Monique Wales“I can not stress enough how important defensible space around all structures can be,” says Guillemin. “This vital space will mean the difference between losing all your personal belongings to fire or providing fire crews the space and time to extinguish the blaze before it devastates a community.”

Fire personnel on recent fires in San Diego and Fresno attribute saving structures to homeowners who provided excellent defensible space, says Guillemin.

Overgrown brush fields are not natural, she notes. The movement of the population into the wildland area has created an imbalance that the population is responsible to mitigate. Removing fire from nature’s equation and adding families with homes and outbuildings in addition to the overgrown vegetation equals a recipe for disaster.

“Please stop and think fire prevention, use caution in every activity you perform in and around the wildland areas,” says Guillemin. “Our area is extremely dry and it only takes one spark to start a wildfire. Please don’t let that spark start with you.”

She also asks residents to remember, “We can’t help you if we can’t find you.” Is your address clearly posted with reflective material on a contrasting background in 3-inch or larger numbers in all directions of travel?

Is your home ready for a wildfire? Are you set? Do you have a plan to Go? Take some time to walk around your property and imagine a wildfire heading to your house. Is your driveway wide enough for emergency equipment? Is your driveway clear of vegetation or do you expect a fire engine to drive through a tunnel of burning brush to gain access to your home? Is there a place at your home for a fire engine to turn around? To park? To fight fire?

Who is watching your children this summer? Does your family have a fire escape plan? Did you practice your plan? Does your sitter or day care have a fire escape plan? Remember you need to create a plan and then practice the plan for everyone to learn it and know what to do.

Make sure you and your family are prepared. Wildfire is coming! Visit http://www.readyforwildfire.org/ for help and detailed instructions on how to be ready.

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Sierra News Online

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