As drought conditions continue to significantly elevate California’s fire danger, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. has declared May 3-9, 2015 as “Wildfire Awareness Week.”
During Wildfire Awareness Week, CAL FIRE is reminding all Californians of the role they play in preparing for and preventing wildfires.
“With a record dry and warm winter Californian’s fire activity has been nearly double what it normally is for this time of year,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “Our firefighters continue to meet the challenges posed by California’s historic drought, but we all must do our part to ensure our homes are prepared for wildfire and that residents and visitors to our state take extreme caution to avoid sparking a wildfire.”
On May 1, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that California’s snowpack water content was only 3 percent of normal. The lack of snow and overall rainfall has led to conditions being much drier than normal, lending themselves to the quick spread of wildfire. Between Jan. 1 and May 2, CAL FIRE has responded to over 1,100 wildfires that have charred over 4,200 acres. In an average year for the same time period, CAL FIRE would typically respond to fewer than 650 wildfires burning approximately 1,500 acres.
During Wildfire Awareness Week, CAL FIRE is reminding Californians that when it comes to wildfires, remember “Ready, Set, Go!”
Being Ready for a wildfire starts by maintaining 100 feet of Defensible Space and hardening homes with fire resistant building materials. During this drought CAL FIRE is highly recommending residents landscape their yards with drought tolerant and fire resistant plants. Being Set includes have an evacuation plan and an emergency supply kit. Lastly, when a wildfire strikes, residents are urged to Go! and evacuate early.
CAL FIRE is also urging all Californians during Wildfire Awareness Week to learn the steps to prevent sparking a wildfire. Over 90 percent of the wildfires in California are sparked by the activity of people, so CAL FIRE has joined local and federal fire agencies in the “One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire” campaign in hopes of getting the public to practice fire safety outdoors and prevent sparking a wildfire.
Residents looking for additional information on how to prepare themselves, their families and their homes for wildfire can visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org. The site offers tips for residents to make their homes more resistant to wildfires and to ensure that their families are ready to evacuate early and safely when a wildfire strikes.
For more than two years, California has been dealing with the effects of drought. Every Californian is being asked to take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.