With spring now taking hold in California, CAL FIRE is already staffing up for fire season, while focusing the efforts of its crews on preventing large and damaging wildfires. Recent rains have been a welcome sight to drought parched California, but CAL FIRE firefighters are not letting their guard down, instead they are training for another potential busy fire season and working hard to prevent wildfires. Across the State, CAL FIRE has already hired a surge of over 400 additional seasonal firefighters, whose focus includes fire prevention, fuel reduction and defensible space programs.
“While the winter rain has helped decrease the fire risk in some areas, it has not been enough to end the drought,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of CAL FIRE. “The rain is welcome, but it will not revive the millions of trees that have already died due to drought and bark beetle. Our firefighters are taking advantage of the weather and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to prevent the types of wildfires we experienced last year.”
While the additional firefighters are available to respond to wildfires, like the 240 fires that have already occurred since Jan. 1, these firefighters will focus their efforts of fire prevention. The projects the crews are working on range from removing dead trees, creating and maintaining fire breaks, removing dense brush, performing prescribed burning, and assisting homeowners with education on Defensible Space.
Pimlott added that while firefighters are busy performing fire prevention projects, it’s critical that residents do their part to prepare for wildfires by maintaining 100 feet of Defensible Space around their homes and property. This includes removing weeds and other dead or dying vegetation, limbing up tree branches, and cleaning off leaves and debris from roofs and gutters.
For more information on how to create Defensible Space and prepare for fire season, visit ReadyForWildfire.org.