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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Transitions to Winter Staffing

The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit (BDU) has transitioned to Winter staffing levels effective Monday, November 29, 2010. The staffing reduction is in response to the reduced fire hazard potential. The wet Winter weather is allowing the San Bernardino Unit to reduce staffing by laying off seasonal firefighters and reducing the number of full time staffed fire engines. CAL FIRE recognizes that wildland fires can start at any time in Southern California and we will continue to be prepared to respond.

In the San Bernardino Unit, the Bishop and Independence (in the Owens Valley), Phelan, Yucca Valley, and Yucaipa fire stations will remain open with a fire engine staffed with a three person crew. CAL FIRE BDU will also have one fire crew per camp available for immediate response on the weekend.

Arson Suspects Arrested

CAL FIRE fire investigators assisted in the investigation and arrest of three teenagers for arson fires in the Bishop area. The fires were set on November 11th, 12th, and 13th. The multiple fires were reported in the city and county areas of Bishop in the Owens Valley. Investigators from the Inyo County Sheriff's Department, CAL FIRE, Bishop Police and Fire Departments put the case together.

Thomas Stone, 18 years old from Bishop, Jared Manga, 18 years old from Bishop: and one 16 year old juvenile from Bishop were arrested. All three suspects were charged with arson and conspiracy. "These fires had the potential to cause major damage and potential loss of life, but the quick response by Bishop Fire and Investigators avoided potential tragedy." said Inyo County Sheriff Bill Lutze.

Prevent Fires and Injuries This Thanksgiving

CAL FIRE wants to warn residents about the many dangers that the Thanksgiving Holiday can present. The end of the year for most Americans means preparing for feasts, festivities and fun throughout the holiday season. But each year that joy is marred by tragedy when accidents and fires cause injuries and even death.

Thanksgiving remains the leading day for home cooking fires with 3 times as many cooking fires as an average day, according to statistics by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In fact, on Thanksgiving Day 2009, CAL FIRE crews responded to over 600 emergency incidents and sadly one person died in a home fire.

"Every holiday the number of emergencies CAL FIRE responds to increases," said Chief Ken Pimlott, acting CAL FIRE director. "While that's our job, we certainly don't want to respond to your home this Thanksgiving because there was a fire or someone was burned. "We want everyone to have a safe holiday season."

To help reduce the chance of fire and injuries associated with holiday cooking, follow these tips:

  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.
  • If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Cooking food should always be supervised by an adult.
  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and other material that can burn. Never use on wooden decks or in garages.
  • Children should not be permitted near a turkey fryer since hot oil can cause serious burn injuries.
  • Provide a level surface that is free of ignitable materials when using turkey fryers.
  • Make sure a fire extinguisher is handy at all times. Never use water to put out a grease fire.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles.

For more information go to

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fire Recognition Days at Knott's Berry Farm

Fire and Police Recognition Days at Knott's Berry Farm
Starting Thanksgiving Day and running through December 19,
Knott's will honor all those who protect life and property with Fire and Police Recognition Days.
FREE admission to the park will be offered to all active fire and police personnel and one guest. Up to six additional tickets can be purchased for only $15 each.

*Eligible person must be present.
Take advantage, you deserve it!

CIvics Day

Yesterday, November 16th was "Civics Day" in the City of Highland, California. This annual event allows high school students to shadow people in areas of civil service that they aspire to. CAL FIRE hosted two high school seniors from Orangewood High School in the City of Redlands.

Ricardo Gomez and Chad Kurr both want to go into the fire service. For their visit, they were taken to a Highland fire station where they received a tour and learned about the daily routine that firefighters go through. Later in the morning, the two teens and their fire engines met up in a parking lot to participate in a training hose lay.

Ricardo Gomez gets the feel of working the nozzle. Ricardo says that when he was young, he went to a local fire station on a field trip. Once there, he says that he feel in love with the big red truck and decided that he wanted to become a firefighter. After high school he plans to become a volunteer firefighters while he attends the fire academy.

Senior Chad Kurr also had his opportunity to work the nozzle as the teens were shown how to attack a structure fire. Chad also wants to become a firefighter and plans to attend a fire academy and apply to become a season firefighters for the United States Forest Service.

Crafton Hills Fire Academy

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit firefighters assisted the Crafton Hills Fire Academy with their three day "Basic Wildland" fire class. The three day class ran from Monday, November 8 through Wednesday, November 10th. The class consisted of one day of classroom instruction and two days of practical application. Included in the classroom instruction were topics regarding wildland fire terminology, basic fire safety, and basic Incident Command System organization. The last two days involved learning about fireline construction and how to use the tools to accomplish it, along with helicopter safety and operation. The third day saw the cadets learning how to do progressive hose lays and mobile pumping.

CAL FIRE seasonal firefighter Alison Hesterly works the nozzle as she leads a demonstration hose lay for the cadets.

Seasonal firefighter Rachel Kliewer explains some of the finer techniques of switching out the nozzle and a new section of hose.

Seasonal firefighter Diane Thompson explains some of the responsibilities of working the nozzle on a hose lay.

CAL FIRE Unit Chief Presents JAC Certificates

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief Doug McKain had a busy day Wednesday, November 1oth. He visited three fire stations to personally present JAC Certificates to four CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit firefighters. At each station Chief McKain did a personal presentation of each firefighter's Joint Apprenticeship Committee (JAC) certificates. Pictured below are Jeff Silva and Dean Fehler from Yucaipa Fire Station #551, Peter Grzeskowiak at Yucaipa Fire Station #552, and Elizabeth Brown from Highland Fire Station #542.

The apprenticeship training consists of academy followed by specific instruction that relates to and supplements what was taught in the academy. It provides true-to-life experience through on the job training. CAL FIRE has three year apprentice programs for the classifications of Fire Fighter II and Fire Apparatus Engineer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

CAL FIRE Says It's Time to Fall Back

As we prepare to fall back one hour this November 7, 2010, the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit wants to remind you to make a change that could save your life and that of your family – changing the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Communities throughout California and the Nation are witness to tragic home fire deaths and injuries every year. Approximately every three hours a home fire death occurs somewhere in the nation with 80-percent of those fires happening in homes without working smoke alarms. Non-working smoke alarms rob residents of the protective benefits they were designed to provide.

Changing the batteries in these life saving devices at least once a year is one of the simplest forms of insurance you can have. In fact, working smoke alarms reduce by nearly half the risk of dying in a home fire. Additionally, how old is your smoke alarm? The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends replacing your smoke alarms every ten years.

“The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are asleep,” says CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief Doug McKain. According to CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Bart Chambers, “Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths and injuries. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.” For more fire safety information you can go to