Residents living in Inyo, Mono, and San Bernardino counties interested in a fire prevention program email

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Operation Santa Ana Begins

For the 11th consecutive year, the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit and Southern California Edison are partnering to reduce the threat of wildland fires caused by power line and power pole failures. This program is also conducted by other CAL FIRE units and fire departments in Southern California. Operation Santa Ana began in 2000 as a way to reduce vegetation fires that were caused when nature and electricity combined. These fires were caused by winds blowing tree limbs into the power lines, equipment failures that showered the ground with sparks igniting dry vegetation nearby, or faulty equipment that needed to be repaired or replaced.
Every year, CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Fire Prevention Officers team up with members of Edison to perform visual inspections of more than 5,000 power poles in San Bernardino County where CAL FIRE is responsible for fire protection. The two person teams patrol the lines looking for anything that could pose a fire hazard. The teams are checking to see that the clearance mandates of the Public Resources Code, sections 4292 and 4293 have had their annual compliance. PRC 4292 calls for a ground clearance of ten feet around the base and eight feet above the ground of power poles that contain equipment that could result in sparking if it failed. PRC 4293 says that vegetation needs to be a minimum of four feet away from high voltage lines. That means from beneath, the side, or above.

The program which began yesterday is expected to complete the first round of inspections by mid-September, just in time for the return of the Santa Ana winds. Re-inspections for any deficiencies that were reported during the first inspections are expected to be completed by the beginning of October. Since Operation Santa Ana began, there have been no large and damaging fires caused by power line or power pole failures in the San Bernardino County areas protected by CAL FIRE

Thursday, August 19, 2010

MIller Fire Final

The Miller fire that burned adjacent to the southern part of Lake Silverwood is 100% contained as of 6:00 PM this evening. Full control is planned for August 23rd. A total of 66 acres of State and federal land was burned in the fire. The investigation is continuing.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Busy Saturday for CAL FIRE San Bernardino

The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit had a very busy Saturday this past weekend. Firefighters and equipment were requested and attended two events held to recognize emergency service personnel for their efforts to serve and protect. One event was the San Bernardino City Neighborhood Watch program for the blocks of West 24th and 25th streets which held their annual block party. Along with the neighbors getting together and visiting, the residents there used the event to honor emergency services personnel.

This year, the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit was honored to be asked to attend the event to be recognozed by the residents there. Also included by the residents were the San Bernardino Police Explorers and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Explorers.
CAL FIRE San Bernardino was requested to send two fire engines to the event. What arrived, much to the happiness and interest of the residents were two Model 34 engines. The crews spent the late afternoon sharing with the residents, answering questions, displaying equipment, letting the children sit in the engines and dressing in their gear so the kids could see what the firefighters looked like up close. This was good for the small children who tend to be afraid of firefighters in their structure gear.
The crews handed out Smokey Bear comic books, coloring books and shared the dinner table with the local residents.
Another engine along with the bulldozer and transport were part of the Firefighter Appreciation Night festivities at the Toyota Speedway in Irwindale. This is the third consecutive year that the speedway has requested the CAL FIRE San Berdnardino Unit to participate in the event by providing equipment for the public to see.

Unfortunately, there was some serious work to be done as well. Eight people were killed and 12 injured while watching the California 200 off-road race in the Mojave Desert near Lucerne Valley. According to news reports, one vehicle crashed and rolled over after taking a jump at high speed. The vehicle crashed into the crowd which was very close to the track.

The San Bernardino County Fire Department was in charge but due to the high amount of fatalities and injuries, CAL FIRE also responded five fire engines and one battalion Chief to assist. The engines responded from Yucca Valley, Lucerne Valley, Hesperia, and Phelan. All of the CAL FIRE equipment was released by 12:20 AM this morning.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tour of Duty Running Team Stops at Station 543

Thursday evening August 12th, Highland Fire Station 543 had some special visitors. They were a running team from Tour of Duty on their way to New York. So who are these runners and what is the Tour of Duty...

The team that stopped by Station 543 were greeted by the firefighters from all three Highland Fire Stations along with battalion Chief Jeff Veik. As the team took a break and grabbed a quick shower, firefighter Brian Cali prepared a meal of hot dogs and hamburgers.

After the meal and a brief rest, the team whose members are from the Police and Fire Departments of Australia, Chicago, Las Vegas, and New York, hit the road at 9:00 PM (2100 hrs. for you military time buffs) headed for Victorville. The team plans to meet up with the other two teams that left the Santa Monica pier Thursday morning August 12th shortly before 9:00 AM.

It ws an honor to host if even for a few moments these firefighters and police officers who are giving of their time and expending the effort to keep the memory of those lost and injured in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit wishes the teams good fortune and easily running.
Thank you to Fire Caption Jason Marsh for the photos and the information.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

NBC4 Health & Safety Fair

Los Angeles television station NBC4 held a health and safety fair for their employees on Tuesday, August 10, 2010. CAL FIRE San Bernardino was invited to participate in the event. CAL FIRE San Bernardino has a long running relationship with NBC4, having taught the News Media Fire Safety class there for the last five years.

The event ran from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and provided information for personal health, safety, and financial (retirement & investment) health and safety. There were also physical practitioners there providing spinal alignment checks, acupuncture relaxation, and hypnosis relaxation techniques.
CAL FIRE was the only public safety agency to attend the event. CAL FIRE had a little something for everyone, information for protecting and clearing your property, evacuation tips for home and pets, and Smokey Bear comics and coloring books for children at home. One person commented that they had been evacuated during the Station fire and took the sheet on evacuation tips saying that now they could be prepared if it ever happens again. One of the best things that happened was that CAL FIRE was the only one providing bags to carry all the things that were being given away. So at least for Tuesday, CAL FIRE bags could be seen all over the NBC4 lot.

The event was well attended by news personnel (NBC4 weatherman Fritz Coleman in photo) from NBC4 and Telemundo, their Spanish language affiliate along with other employees from the Burbank television operation there.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Remembering Mann Gulch

It was August 5, 1949 when a U.S. Forest Service Smoke Jumping Team was overrun on the Mann Gulch fire in the Helena National Forest in Montana. The fire had been started the day before by a lightning storm that had passed through the area.

Today, we want to remember those brave firefighters who lost their lives.

Robert J. Bennett..... Eldon E. Diettert..... James O. Harrison.....
William J. Hellman..... Philip R. McVey..... David R. Navon.....
Leonard L. Piper..... Stanley J. Reba..... Marvin L. Sherman.....
Joseph B. Sylvia..... Henry J. Thol, Jr...... Newton R. Thompson.....
Silas R. Thompson

Fire Prevention is the Public's Business Too.

As we have been seeing over the last few weeks, the hot fire hazard period of the year is finally upon us. The moisture in the vegetation has been reduced making the plants and grasses very susceptible to fire. We are always asked if this is going to be a bad fire season and while we never really know, what we do know is that wildfire is going to strike somewhere. The question is are you ready for it?

California's Mediterranean climate and topography naturally lend themselves to wildfires. As we have seen recently, even without the severe Santa Ana winds, the fires in Southern California are burning fast and furious.

To assist in this effort, Governor Schwarzenegger issued an executive order on May 3, 2010.

Last Friday, while speaking at the Crown Fire Incident Command Post in Palmdale, the Governor reminded Californians of the importance of defensible space in order to provide firefighters with the space necessary to defend your home. He also spoke of being ready to go when law enforcement officers are recommending evacuation.

What we witnessed last year in the Oak Glen III fire for example is how well the different fire departments in San Bernardino County come together to fight wildland fires and protect the residents here. But firefighters need your help, so here are a few tips that can help to prevent a fire.
1. Never use lawn mowers and weed trimmers to clear dead grass and vegetation during the heat of the day. Just a simple spark from a mower's blade striking a rock can ignite a wildfire.
2. If you go camping, completely extinguish your camp fire. And only have a fire in places where they are allowed.
3. Don't pull your car over in dry grass. The hot exhaust or muffler can catch the grass on fire.
4. Never throw away a cigarette out doors or out of your car.

As we move deeper into the high fire hazard months of the year, the fire danger will continue to increase. I can tell you that CAL FIRE and area fire departments are ready to respond. But are you prepared? To learn more about how to be fire safe, click on the CAL FIRE logo or the Ready, Set, Go banner.

Thank you for being part of the fire safe team.

Chief Doug McKain
CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief