With rain and snow forecast in much of California this holiday weekend, now is the time to prepare for wildfire; don’t let the cooler weather fool you. CAL FIRE is urging Californians to keep everyone safe if you plan to recreate outdoors for the Memorial Day weekend.
“Although most of California is experiencing unseasonably cooler temperatures, our dry climate means that we are continually susceptible to wildfires,” said Chief Thom Porter, CAL FIRE director. “With the cooler weather, don’t let your guard down as the abundant growth of plants, shrubs and grass will dry out quickly and become a large tinder box for wildfire. We all need to do our part to ensure we are being safe when working or recreating outdoors by taking precautions to avoid sparking a wildfire.”
Since Jan. 1, CAL FIRE has responded to more than 736 wildfires that have burned nearly 1,361 acres.
If you plan on driving to your holiday destination:
• Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained with nothing dragging on the ground, which can cause a spark and potentially cause a wildfire.
• When towing, make sure trailer chains are properly secured, and never drive or pull over into dry grass, which can start a wildfire.
If you plan on going camping:
• If you plan on having a campfire, make sure it is legal to do so. Clear away grass, leaves and other debris within a 10-foot perimeter of the ring; make sure all campfires are completely extinguished before leaving. Buy your firewood where you burn it, that way you aren’t spreading dangerous insects and diseases, which can kill millions of trees. If your campsite is more than 50 miles away, call the state or federal park, or forests closest to the site and ask if they know of local distributors.
• If you are grilling, never leave the grill unattended, and always watch what you are grilling.
Fire is not the only danger that can occur in the outdoors; water drownings also increase dramatically during Memorial Day weekend. If you plan to brave the chilly waters this weekend, here are some tips:
• As the snowpack continues to melt, the rivers and lakes will run fast and cold, making them very dangerous. When you are in the water, never swim alone and if you aren’t a strong swimmer, always wear a life jacket.
• Children should always be supervised by a responsible adult within arm’s reach.
• Be particularly cautious of rivers and waterways with rapid currents and never underestimate calm water.
• And lastly, drinking while boating/swimming is just as dangerous as drinking and driving on the roadways.
For more ways to be safe this holiday, visit www.fire.ca.gov or www.ReadyforWildfire.org.