How California prepares for fire

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Crown fire in northern LA county, near Palmdale. 29 July 2010

Crown fire in northern LA county, near Palmdale. 29 July 2010
Photo by Jim Staley via Flickr

It’s been an enormously destructive fire season in the American West, with tens of thousands of acres and hundreds of homes burned up in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and other states. So far, California hasn’t had a big blaze, but all the ingredients, such as tinderbox dryness in wilderness areas and a lack of rain, are there to turn a small fire into a roaring wildfire that can turn entire neighborhoods into ash.

Across the state, firefighters are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Fire fighting crews have been assembled. Engines prepped and ready to leave station houses at a moment’s notice. And water-dropping aircraft made ready for take-off.

But as they do their job, the state’s firefighters want you to remember the precautions you should take, especially if you live in fire-prone areas like hillside communities where suburbia gives way to dry brush and wilderness. I talked about fire season in California and how to prepare for it with Julie Hutchinson, a battalion chief with CAL FIRE, the state’s fire fighting agency.

There’s much more information about fire preparation and safety at the Cal fire website.