NORTH FORK – As if firefighters weren’t weary enough from this long summer of fires, they were called out this afternoon for reports of a smoke on House Ranch Road just off Road 200 between North Fork and O’Neals. It was a burn pile.
Someone apparently decided that a few drops of rain had erased the danger of years of drought, and lit off a brush pile, prompting engines, water tenders, dozers and aircraft to respond.
Rain or no rain, there is a total burn ban in effect for all State Responsibility Areas in the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit (MMU) and across the state, and unless and until it is lifted by Cal Fire, no one should be even considering lighting anything on fire.
Also, it costs a lot of money to put crews and engines on the road and aircraft in the skies, and as with any emergency response, it put lives at risk.
Cal Fire Prevention Specialist Karen Guillemin-Kanawyer reminds everyone, once again, of the catastrophic results of ill-advised behavior with open flame, operation of equipment, or any outdoor activity that could produce a spark.
“Please stop and think fire prevention,” says Guillemin-Kanawyer. “Nearly all fires are human-caused.”
About 90 percent of fires in California are caused by people, says http://www.preventwildfireca.org, and that number has been even higher in MMU over the past several years.
Yesterday was the 1-year anniversary of the devastating Courtney Fire – a tragedy that could have been avoided had someone not engaged in dangerous behavior with fire.